ZIMBABWE’s economic malaise could be eased by monetary reform – but the real challenge is a political one.
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 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