Week 15

A weekly selection from Zimbabwean newspapers

Zimbabwe’s export receipts nosedive

Zimbabwe’s export proceeds fell by 16,90% to US$6,04 billion in 2023 compared to the previous year, largely weighed down by subdued mineral exports, latest data from the central bank show. 

Information gathered from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) showed that the contribution of export proceeds to the country’s foreign currency receipts in the period under review remained high at 55%, although it was down from 64% in 2022. 

In total, foreign currency receipts amounted to US$10,9 billion, down 3,70% compared to 2022. 

International remittances stood at US$3 billion, with diaspora remittances contributing 17% of the total amount, while non-governmental organisations accounted for 10%. Loan proceeds stood at US$1,14 billion, up 13%. Foreign investment contributed US$375,6 million. 


Zimbabweans need restoration of confidence in economy, not a new currency – rights group

Rights  group ActionAid has slammed the recent launch of the new structured currency, Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) saying the nation needs restoration of confidence in the economy, not a new currency. 

Over the years, Zimbabwe has grappled with the repercussions of currency instability, witnessing the introduction of various currencies, each accompanied by promises of economic recovery. 

In a statement Friday, ActionAid said Zimbabwe needs comprehensive reforms addressing issues such as corruption, mismanagement, and lack of transparency to restore confidence. 

“While the initiative may be presented as a solution to Zimbabwe’s economic challenges, we believe that what Zimbabweans truly need is the restoration of confidence in the economy, not the introduction of yet another currency. 


Biti dumps Welshman’s CCC

Former Finance minister and Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) co-vice-president Tendai Biti has dumped the main opposition political party saying he is taking a sabbatical away from politics as he goes on a soul-searching break. 

Speaking on HSTV’s #FreeTalk show, Biti, who was supposed to take over as CCC president from the current leader Welshman Ncube on a rotational basis, said he had withdrawn from politics to focus on other spaces that can help to remove the ruling Zanu PF party from power. 


Zimbabwe’s new ZiG currency strengthens on second day of trading

Zimbabwe’s new gold-backed currency the ZiG strengthened a day after its debut, even as it roiled commerce nationwide as banks, retailers and utilities battled to switch to the new unit. 

It gained 0.2% to 13.53 per US dollar, according to data published on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s website on Tuesday. It began trading Monday at 13.56 per dollar, using an exchange rate announced by Governor John Mushayavanhu during last Friday’s unveiling of the nation’s latest effort to create a functioning local currency. 

The International Monetary Fund, which in February urged the liberalization of the exchange rate, said it will support authorities latest efforts to restore macroeconomic stability. But the Washington-based lender said it needed time to review the design and implications of the new currency arrangement before weighing in with an assessment. 


A Harvest for Hunger in Rural Zimbabwe

Makuyana is one of the beneficiaries of the “zunde ramambo,” which means “chief’s granary” in the Shona language. It is based on a traditional concept in Zimbabwe where, according to Maosa, communities come together to cultivate crops that will serve their collective well-being in times of need.  

The chief designates a portion of land for communal cultivation. Community members who want to participate collaborate in land preparation, planting, weeding and harvesting. Community members harvest food crops. Community members store the crops in a shared storehouse or granary. The chief works alongside administrators, chosen by the villagers, to oversee the management of the food, which includes identifying vulnerable people in need.  


ZiG notes, coins to start circulating on April 30 – RBZ governor

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has said the newly introduced currency Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) notes and coins will begin circulating on April 30. 

In a statement, the central bank governor John Mushayavanhu said the old currency known as bond notes will continue working for a grace period of 21 days, while the ZiG is under production. 

“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (the Reserve Bank) would like to advise that the banking sector and Payment Systems Providers (PSP) have made satisfactory progress in converting the ZW$ balances into Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) balances since the pronouncement of the Monetary Policy measures on 5 April 2024. 

“The conversion process will continue for other economic sectors until Friday, 12 April 2024.” 


Govt blitz as traders dump Zimdollar

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mushayavanhu last Friday introduced a new currency, Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG). The central bank said the new notes and coins would be rolled out on April 30.  

THE Consumer Protection Commission together with the police and the Financial Intelligence Unit has launched a blitz on businesses refusing to accept the Zimdollar following the launch of a new currency last week. 

But observers said the blitz was an “exercise in futility” after the central bank postponed the rollout of the new currency. 


Zanu PF exploits churches

The unexpected visitor was controversial businessman Wicknell Chivayo who later donated US$1 million to Nehemiah Mutendi’s Zion Christian Church (ZCC) at its Easter service in Masvingo province. 

Chivayo was continuing a Zanu PF tradition where ruling party officials are known to gate-crash church events to buy support, especially during the elections. 

Zanu PF politicians have been seen donning religious garments during public appearances, disregarding church protocol. 

Last week, Mnangagwa dragged Chivayo along to the ZCC gathering where the controversial businessman donated US$1 million, a figure which he described as “small”. 


Ministry of health scraps O’ Level Maths as requirement for nurse training

The ministry of health has quietly scrapped the requirement to have passed O’ Level Mathematics for one to qualify for nurse training. 

The requirements were tweaked more a decade ago, compelling Zimbabweans seeking to train as nurses and many other disciplines to have passed Maths, English and Science with at least grade C or better. 

In a surprise turn, the ministry of health’s latest call for trainee nurses is silent on the Maths requirement. 


President Mnangagwa Reject 3rd Term

“”I Will Not Seek 3rd Term, It’s My Final Term” 

President E.D. Mnangagwa has made it clear that he will not seek a third term in office. This is in line with his previous statements on the issue of term limits. He stated that he would honour the term limits laid out in the Constitution. President E.D. Mnangagwa’s commitment to upholding the rule of law and respecting the will of the people will be a lasting legacy of his leadership.


Zimbabwe launches new gold-backed currency – ZiG

Zimbabwe has introduced a new gold-backed currency called ZiG – the name stands for “Zimbabwe Gold”. 

It is the latest attempt to stabilise an economy that has lurched from crisis to crisis for the past 25 years. 

Unveiling the new notes, central bank governor John Mushayavanhu said the ZiG would be structured and set at a market-determined exchange rate. 

The ZiG replaces a Zimbabwean dollar, the RTGS, that had lost three-quarters of its value so far this year. 

Annual inflation in March reached 55% – a seven-month high. 

Zimbabweans have 21 days to exchange old, inflation-hit notes for the new currency. 

However, the US dollar, which accounts for 85% of transactions, will remain legal tender and most people are likely to continue to prefer this. 

The new ZiG banknotes come in denominations of between 1 and 200. 


Health minister bemoans skills flight

Health and Childcare minister, Douglas Mombeshora, has admitted that the brain drain has left the health sector on its knees, denying patients access to primary medical attention. 

Mombeshora revealed this in Parliament this week, while responding to written submissions made by legislators on the state of the health sector in the country. 

He said the ministry is struggling to fill vacant posts. 

“The Ministry of Health and Child Care is currently facing challenges with inadequate numbers of staff,” he said. 

The health sector has been hard-hit by a mass exodus of doctors, nurses and other experienced personnel protesting poor salaries and working conditions. 

Most of the health professionals have left for the United Kingdom in recent years, with estimates putting the figure at over 3 000 since 2022. 

In 2018, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga grabbed international headlines after firing over 15 000 striking nurses. 

He was forced to reverse the decision a few days later. 


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