“Zimbabweans will start exchanging “quadrillions” of local dollars for a few US dollars next week as President Robert Mugabe’s government discards its virtually worthless national currency. Bank accounts with balances of up to 175 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars will be paid $5. Those with balances above 175 quadrillion dollars will be paid at an exchange rate of $1 for 35 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars.
The highest – and last – banknote to be printed by the bank in 2008 was 100tn Zimbabwean dollars. It was not enough to ride a public bus to work for a week.” The Guardian. Click on the link to read the rest of the article.
I find the above situation very ridiculous, but not surprising; a result of short-sighted leaders and disheartened followers.
My husband constantly says always try to leave things in the state you met them or make improvements; but endeavour not to make them worse. I must confess it’s not a lesson that I have perfected in all areas of my life. It is however, still a vital life lesson which the Zimbabwean government (along with other African leaders) should strive to live by.
According to various sources the root cause of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe can be traced to the land reform program initiated by the government post-independence. It involved the transfer of agricultural lands from experienced white settlers to black inexperienced farmers which marked a rapid decline of the agricultural industry. Whilst I agree that such a move was perhaps aimed at asserting the leadership of the citizens, however, when a decline was observed it might have been wise to call in help for the sake of posterity. Why didn’t this happen? Probably because our African leaders rarely anticipate the future, they live and exist in a time continuum of the here and now which revolves around them.
Other factors that influenced the process of hyperinflation include: an involvement in the civil war of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the face of a worsening economic condition and the suspension of international loans and economic aid to the country as a result of various factors including mismanagement of its funds, and poor policy implementation. Unfortunately this situation of poor public fund management and leadership isn’t peculiar to Zimbabwe alone, it is a common thread drawn through the history and present day of several African countries.
Africa needs leaders who want to make a difference, have a plan for achieving that difference, and dedicated to ensuring the difference can outlive them. We need a system that works, a system that meets the present need, but also designed to flexibly accommodate future needs.
We are tired of governments that want to reap and plunder the land where it hasn’t sown whilst eradicating any opposition.
I will conclude on the eloquent words of Pope Francis:
Please note that he points out the need for us to first refuse a faulty system before he prays for a solution. We must refuse to settle for less than we want.