Tendai Biti sits in his office in a leafy Harare suburb, contemplating another collapse of the Zimbabwean economy.
Thanks to a chronic shortage of United States dollars, the country is running out of cash. There are long queues outside every bank, with some customers forced to wait overnight for a chance to withdraw a maximum of US$50 from their account.
Businesses are struggling to import stock, renters can’t pay their landlords, and even government is having trouble processing salaries on time.
“The economy is in a hole.
A deep hole,” says the man generally credited with rescuing Zimbabwe from its last collapse.
In the 2000s, as Robert Mugabe’s regime started printing money to finance their re-election bid, the Zimbabwean dollar was subject to Weimar Republic-esque levels of hyperinflation. At one point, the Reserve Bank printed a 100-trillion Zimbabwean dollar note. Supermarket shelves were empty, unemployment soared, and supplies of food, petrol and medical supplies ran dry.
When the Government of National Unity came to power in 2009 – following a bitterly and violently contested election – Biti, a constitutional lawyer and veteran opposition politician, was appointed finance minister. Under his watch,