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Little festive cheer for Zimbabweans

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - 02:07

New coins to solve Zimbabwe's currency problems may, it's feared, simply not work - while against a backdrop of over 80 percent unemployment, most people are struggling to ring in any Christmas cheer. Joel Flynn reports.

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The boast on the banner might be over-ambitious, but the Christmas cheer in Zimbabwe almost anything but. The economy here supposedly "flatlining" while unemployment soars. Little in the way of good news for shoppers facing a bleak 2015 as well. A story true across much of the country. Joseph Mariseni's small chicken farm, like many others, offering few gifts. SOUNDBITE: Harare Resident, Joseph Mariseni, saying (Shona): "Christmas this year is bleak. I can't travel to see my parents as my chicken project hasn't paid off. I wanted to spend the Christmas holiday with them, but I'm just going to buy a packet of rice for my children on Christmas day. The few dollars I have saved will go to next year's school fees." The economy here ravaged by problems compounded by low commodity prices and starved of financial liquidity. Foreign governments withholding aid over President Robert Mugabe's controversial policies. Economic analyst John Robertson. SOUNDBITE: Economic Analyst, John Robertson, saying (English): "We desperately need to change the policies that have done the damage to this economy, and those are the policies that have badly affected property rights, badly affected investor confidence, and badly affected the capacity we have to generate products that will be competitive on the world markets." One present from the central bank though - a new coin for the new year. Zimbabwe already uses U.S. dollars and other foreign currencies instead of its own - given up in January 2009 after hyper-inflation hit 500 billion percent. The new special coins will be known as "bonds" - designed to run alongside units already in use. Reserve Bank Governor, John Mangudya. SOUNDBITE: Zimbabwe Reserve Bank Governor, John Mangudya ,saying (English): "The bond coins are going to be issued in denominations of 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents and 50 cent coins." Many fear though these coins be just as prone to inflation as Zimbabwe's previous currency. This might be the closest thing Zimbabweans see to Santa in 2014. Many here in Harare hoping for not for presents under the tree, but policy changes by the president.

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Little festive cheer for Zimbabweans

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - 02:07