This handy tool (API) gives you Zim exchange rate information dating back years

Leonard Sengere Avatar
Zimbabwe bond notes and USD SI 127 of 2021

You know the deal in Zimbabwe, at any given time you need to have the most accurate USD to ZWL exchange rate, just in case money needs to exchange hands.

It’s doubly important to keep abreast of the rate when you’re running a business. Pricing goods when there is an unstable currency is both an art and a science. You could end up giving away your goods for free if you’re not careful.

In all the above, you need the real market-driven rate and not what the government insists it is. So dear Zimbo, to whom or what do you turn?

For most, the process involves checking a couple of websites every day, asking people in WhatsApp groups and if the daily commute to work allows, having a quick word with a random moneychanger on some random corner. It’s a laborious process and yet it does not yield the best results.

The developer out there probably wishes there was an API for this kind of thing. A service that you could ask the rate at any time and it would just give it to you!

Wish no longer dear Zimbabwean developer, such a service exists?

Success Africa, a UK-based company is solving this exact problem. The startup has a Zim exchange rate API.

Ok first, what is an API?

An API is a tool on the internet that provides information to mobile apps, websites, and other software. It works by allowing you to ask it questions, such as “What is this?”, and it will reply with the answer. This is useful for mobile apps and websites because they can use APIs to get information without having to store it themselves. This makes them more efficient and responsive to users.

What does Success Africa provide exactly?

It gets a little technical and only developers will truly appreciate the following.

You could ask for today’s rate or better still, say you’re a researcher who wants to know what the rate was on 13 November last year, you can send a message that looks like this to Success Africa:

The service will respond with this:

{“success”:true,”error”:false,”rates”:{“Date”:”2022-11-13″,”Ecocash”:830,”OneMoney”:830,”Auction”:636.2104,”OMIR”:0,”BTC_USD”:1.05,”Swipe”:860,”Skrill”:860,”BTC”:860,”Skrill_USD”:1.03,”Cash”:800,”ZIPIT”:860,”WBWS_Sell”:663.8995,”WBWS_Buy”:609.6679,”WBWS_Mid”:636.7837,”Gold”:663.8986,”createdAt”:”Sunday 13 November 2022 at 6:20:48 Central Africa Time”,”updatedAt”:”Sunday 13 November 2022 at 6:20:48 Central Africa Time”}}

The developers among you are probably blown away by this! I’m no developer but I can see what’s going on here.

I think we all appreciate that trying to recall how much ZW$7000 was worth in August 2021 is an impossible task. So, if the API can retrieve that information, and give you a snapshot of what the rates looked like on any day during that month, that’s akin to magic.

ZW$7000 was worth about US$50 at the beginning of August 2021.

About the rate though

That’s all well and good but the question remains, “How does Success Africa determine what the rate is on any given day?”

I think we mentioned that Success Africa is a UK-based startup and some explaining is needed before we trust that some guy freezing his face off in London would know what’s going on on the streets of our cities better than we can.

Well, as you know, many people have been recording this rate information for years now. Success Africa got a load of data from some that recorded this information and that forms the basis of the historical data they have.

That explains how a UK-based company could have old data but it doesn’t explain how the data itself was collected.

To understand this, consider how Success Africa collects data. Mind you they have been collecting this data for a while themselves, even if the majority of their data was inherited.

They are in a number of WhatsApp groups, many more than you would ever be comfortable being in. A number so large they had to dedicate a SIM card for just that purpose. They also have relationships with many traders/moneychangers who also share with them what rates they are using.

Success Africa then sorts this data out and determines what the rate is. That means it will be subjective because there is no one rate to rule them all on the streets. Hence why we always get comments like, ‘Where are you getting that rate because in my neighbourhood there is nothing close to that.’

Success Africa says they prefer using the mode instead of the mean and I think that makes sense. The mode is the value that appears most often in a set of data values.

That’s better than the mean which adds all the values in a data set and then divides by the number of values. That gives an answer that’s not being used anywhere in the market.

Success Africa is confident that their inherited data was collected in a similar fashion, it appears.

Just a man solving his own problems

The story of Success Africa is one of a man solving his own problem and then realising that some other people might also benefit from the solution.

The man behind Success Africa is in some e-commerce business himself and so needed rate information.

You can also make use of the API for free if you’re calling back data from the last 30 days. You will have to pay if you want older information. How much? There really is no fixed price, it will be determined after factoring in how you will actually use the API. How many calls will you make per day, or something like that?

You could pay $5 per month or $19.99 like some organisations are paying.

In developing the API, the biggest challenge Success Africa faced is – as Elon Musk put it – bots. They say they had some IPs making thousands of requests per second, bringing the API to its knees. Through trial and error, they were able to safeguard the API against such use.

The other challenge they face is that of threats of physical harm. Apparently, some people have been in contact with them complaining that the Success Africa rate was not accurate and yet their landlords were using it to set rental figures.

It comes with the territory, I guess.

To use the API, send an email to or shoot one to official reseller Zimpricecheck,

Also read:

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  1. Anonymous

    Finally someone is helping set relevant information free.

  2. adam

    website you will never be disappointed.

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