Zimbabwe’s ZiG Currency Is More Glitter than Gold

Zimbabwe has a painful relationship with money. At the height of hyperinflation in 2008, the African economy’s billion- and trillion-dollar banknotes could barely buy toilet paper as war, autocracy and monetary recklessness crushed confidence and ruined lives. Fresh economic woes mean memories of that time are starting to flood back: Inflation is at 55%, the US dollar has become dominant and buying a loaf of bread requires counting out 100 bills.

Hence why Zimbabwe has its sights on a new start with the ZiG, which is short for Zimbabwe Gold and is backed by some $185 million worth of gold and other reserves. This is the sixth attempt at trying to overhaul a currency whose latest iteration resumed circulation in 2019 at 2.5 per US dollar and ended it last Friday at 30,671 — having lost some 80% of its value since the start of this year. After dabbling in literal gold coins and centrally issued digital variants, Zimbabwe’s central bank is saying the ZiG is a chance for a “solid and stable” national currency.

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