The ZW$ is crashing with 1367% inflation according to Hanke, who suggests Mthuli Ncube resign

Leonard Sengere Avatar
Bond notes, USD

This is now madness. I think we are breaking the laws of probabilities in Zimbabwe. How can we keep breaking inflation records? How many currencies can we run into the ground? The ZW$ is crashing hard right now.

We reintroduced the ZW$ back in 2018 and it started life on par with the USD. It is crazy to consider how far the ZW$ has fallen since then.

While black market rates will not be uniform across the whole country, below are rates I’m seeing from a few places:

  • Ecocash, OneMoney, Swipe, ZIPIT: $18,500
  • RBZ Auction: $14,200
  • Cash: $5,000
  • Willing Buyer Willing Seller (WBWS): $14,320.42
  • Gold: $15,411.78
  • Bulk Auction: $5,903.39
  • Black Market Buy: $15,500
  • Black Market Sell: $18,500
  • Mosi oa Tunya Gold Coin: $15,417.93

The mere fact that we have all these rates illustrates the problem. It’s all a bit chaotic. It appears the market believes 1:18,500 is the correct rate, a 30% premium over the official bank rate (WBWS).

So we went from 1:1 in 2019 to 1:18500 today. My friend, a single Zimbabwean dollar was worth US$1 in 2019 but is now worth half a US cent, US$0.005. At this point if I created my own currency it would be worth more than that.

Loyalty rewards and even supermarket change tokens are worth more than that because they are pegged in USD.

Of course, such rapid currency depreciation always comes with a friend – high inflation. Normally currency depreciation is a symptom of high inflation but in Zimbabwe, they feed off each other.

The world’s highest inflation rate

Our old friend, Professor Hanke has been fascinated by Zimbabwe since our hyperinflation era in the noughties. As he was then, he still calculates what he believes to be the actual inflation rate in the country, which is almost always significantly higher than the official figure.

The current difference between official figures and Hanke’s is ridiculous. The govt says it’s 34.8% whilst Hanke calculates it at 1367%.

We have to take a moment and consider that there are a number of wars raging on the planet and several countries are engaged in armed conflict.

Yet, dear old peaceful Zimbabwe has worse inflation than them all. Sudan is embroiled in a bloody conflict and somehow they are managing their inflation better than us. Make it make sense.

The tweet that went along with the latest dashboard by Hanke simply said,

Welcome to Zimbabwe, home to the WORLD’S HIGHEST INFLATION RATE — A STUNNING 1,397%/yr. It’s time for Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube to resign.

What do you think? Is it time for our Honourable Minister of Finance, Mthuli Ncube to pack it in? Should there be a clause in the Finance Minister’s contract that says if inflation reaches a certain threshold, the Minister is automatically removed from office?

There isn’t such a clause but if 1397% leads to business as usual, what will actually lead to personnel changes? Will anything ever lead to personnel changes? My memory might be shaky but you tell me if there were any personnel changes back when we hit crazy hyperinflation in 2008.

That said, Mthuli and his principal are not sitting on their laurels. They are busy trying to arrest the situation. Recently, they told us about their grand scheme to turn the ZW$’s fortunes around – the structured currency.

They will have to forgive us if we are a little sceptical that it will work as intended. We are justified in being sceptical. They have already tried a lot of innovative stuff to no avail. Remind yourself of what we have been through with the timeline below.

Timeline of major monetary policy shenanigans since 1980:


  • Rhodesian Dollar: Following independence, Zimbabwe adopts the existing Rhodesian dollar and renames it the Zimbabwe dollar (ZWD).


  • Bearer Cheques: Due to cash shortages, Zimbabwe issues low-denomination bearer cheques to supplement the ZWD.


  • High-denomination Bearer Cheques: As inflation worsens, the government introduces a second series of higher-denomination bearer cheques (up to 10 trillion ZWD) alongside the ZWD.


  • Hyperinflation: Hyperinflation renders the ZWD and bearer cheques virtually worthless.
  • Multi-Currency System: To address hyperinflation, Zimbabwe adopts a multi-currency system, allowing the legal use of various foreign currencies, including the USD, EUR, GBP, and ZAR. The ZWD is officially demonetised.


  • Bond Notes: The government introduces bond notes, officially pegged to the USD, as a surrogate currency to ease cash shortages. Critics argue they are essentially a new form of ZWD.


  • RTGS Dollar: Zimbabwe reintroduces a local currency, the RTGS dollar (real-time gross settlement dollar), initially existing only as electronic money. It’s intended to gradually replace the USD and other foreign currencies.


  • USD Outlawed in Local Transactions: The government attempts to demonetise the USD within Zimbabwe, but the policy fails spectacularly.


  • Gold Coins: The RBZ launches Mosi oa Tunya gold coins in an effort to stabilise the RTGS dollar.


  • Gold-Backed Digital Currency: Zimbabwe introduces a gold-backed digital currency alongside the RTGS dollar.


  • Structured currency: Zimbabwe announces a new currency system that links its exchange rate to a hard asset. The system to be monitored by a currency board that regulates the growth of domestic liquidity. The value of the asset that backs the currency constrains the growth of liquidity.

The country has wrestled with hyperinflation, currency shortages, and attempts to introduce new forms of local currency alongside the USD. We have soundly lost that wrestling match.

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  1. Mika

    Rrelax guys,it’s not your ears and eyes.

  2. Black Mambazo

    Pakuda GNU apa maybe zvingava nani

    1. Ian

      If this crazy rate of inflation can be tamed through a GNU, this means that there are players on the political front busy manipulating the rate, for their own advantage. But Sudan also needs a political solution, so where is the difference between the various players?

      1. Anonymous

        what about other plausible explanations – trust vs mistrust etc

  3. Anonymous

    I believe we have been bewitched let’s call our traditional doctors

    1. The Or∆cle 🔥

      Hello. Yes you have been bewitched. The witches and Wizards are running things. What could go wrong.🧺

  4. Tobias Zulu

    I suggest free currency trading is the solution our problems.Let currency situation find its way like water finding its way to the river.

  5. sad

    the money supply has doubled this was inevitable
    this gvt policies are no good at all
    they don’t promote business or innovation for that matter
    truly repressive regime
    that are holding into power at all costs even to the detrimint the ppl they serve. the writing on the wall they can rig the election but not the economy

  6. Clyde Tadiwa Rumombe

    Maybe the next article should be about how we can curb this. Not give us ths problems only. Talking about the problems won’t make them go 😆

    1. Anonymous

      The solution is quite simple but the people who are in power don’t like it because it might involve them losing their power. If and when we fix our politics things will normalize or at least begin to resemble normalcy. I predict we’re heading for a tough time ahead. Just utterly terrible. Humanitrian disaster with the way things are evolving

    2. Prince

      To solve a problem one has to identify it first. Now since it has been so identified maybe YOU can proffer a solution – for it’s not that the writer has some obligation, or monopoly to share ideas!

    3. Maonero angu

      Mthuli is the one entrusted with bringing the currency solution.. that is why they are always assuring us that all will be well

    4. Anonymous

      The media job is to highlight what is happening not fix it. This Zimbabwean disease of pretending that we should suggest solutions and stop diagnosing problem, is misguided. We have paid policymakers for finding solutions and the citizens for holding the accountable by asking uncomfortable questions and highlighting policy failure.

  7. Freddy

    What happened in Zimbabwe concerning the land issue is unforgivable and we’re paying for that.Someone is making sure Zim wil never wrk. The minister is useless there is nothing he can do it’s bigger than him.

    1. Dr Fitzgerald

      Wongorora chikonzero chaita musoro uteme, kurapa mhopo pamusana iwe uine ziso rine mbonje.

  8. Dr Fitzgerald

    Whatever is happening will just crush the ordinary citizen, Let’s outline the causes of INFLATION.

    For Vehicle Tracking and Speed limmiters/governors please contact +263771224366

  9. Prince

    ‘a single Zimbabwean dollar was worth US$1 in 2019 but is now worth half a US cent, US$0.005’
    That’s incorrect – actually now it’s 185 Zim Dollars that are worth a single US cent!
    You are forgiven for being thoroughly confused by it all!

    1. B B Khabo

      Absolutely, 1ZWL is equivalent to US0.005cents

    2. T. Nyambuya

      $1 zim dollar now equivalent to 0.00005 cents USD meaning kuti harikutosvika kana cent zvaro but 2019 1:1 zim dollar versus USA dollar

  10. E, Mapara

    GNU is not a solution cz we don’t work with positions, And RBZ should stop being a political agent

  11. D.K.

    The professor from Oxford is achieving what he was engaged to do for those who engaged him, and he is going nowhere soon.
    The way I personally see it is that money and finance are being used as a political tool. The mission being “Money is Power”. The policies and application being such that the connected and wanted make lots of money from any activity, legal or otherwise to gain power. The unconnected, unwanted and those opposing have money being taken away by the policies, taking power away from them. Just by making people access the US dollar at between Zim5000 and 18500 is the effective tool. The one who has access to the Zimbabwe Dollar cash can get one US dollar for 5000 and immediately go to get a value of 18500 with the one US dollar. That is the miracle money the professor (not the prophet) is being retained and being looked after well to continue generating to give power to subdue.
    It is impossible for companies to survive for those not connected as no business rescue money is not advanced to them so they fall. Politics now chooses whose business should fail or carry on.
    Why do we have secrecy on who, how and where legal cannabis farming is being done?

  12. Petra Visser

    PLEASE………let us just get real and yes, Ntuli should resign and let the country use the US$ as an official currency. A ZIM currency will never have the backing of the people while the words ZIMBABWE DOLLAR is attached to it!!

  13. Zugi

    Interesting article.

    One question: was the Zim dollar officially demonetized?

    As far as I know only USD$5 million was allocated for demonetization, which I suspect was not enough to compensate all Zim dollar bank balances and notes in circulation prior to dollarization.

    And if I’m not mistaken this demonetization money was allocated by Mthuli Ncube, about a decade after dollarization.

  14. cc263

    So what is our solution. We’ve been looking at our currency die over and over again like the Terminator but don’t have a solution. What should we do?

    1. Cde. Rekai

      Allow the Gold standard. Allow Bitcoin, Allow Starlink, Allow Liberalism to the Gold sector were banks and agents can buy and sell Gold freely, Allow forex generators to retain 95% of earning…..Allow. Words like ban, ban and more bans should be used sparingly.

  15. Tswetswe

    Izvi zvinoda former Finance Minister Tendai Biti ane experience ye hyper inflation.There was a lot of hype when Muthuli Ncube was appointed Finance Minister . What has he achieved ,nothing even in politics nothing he contested for an MP post he lost .Why not resign .

  16. Verbatim Bulletin

    The biggest main major setback to these monetary policies has been is still being skirting along with of sanctions
    Professor Hanke should have felt it unfair to put Zim inflation rate into the league he tabled as the reeling sanctions has not given Zimbabwe enough space to perform
    And its been a more than two decade embargo but with such a time lapsing or that sentence don’t they see its kind of a stand still of an economy
    It’s become obvious Zimbabwe is a case study to bolster their economies, whatever ideas from our brains and working sleepless minds they refine it, fine tune to reinforce their economies strong, what then are we having from our esteemed professors and architects we have them stalling ideas, not giving out anything abd because we trust them and abide by their policies all is well and traversiable but The Hanke associates now starved of going ones raise the inflation rate to unprecedented levels, just to soil our efforts of integration and towering us into submissions or rather to tap out but if a merely layman in economics has seen this sort of a trendsetting from the Hankes what of Mthuli. He’s long concluded that the West will never be appreciative of what Zimbabwe is doing even it has had sanctions skirting for more than 2 decades

    1. Prince

      What woefully warped reasoning is this? You suppose Hankes somehow gives, or allocates inflation??
      (As opposed to just measuring it)

  17. Bekezela Khabo

    Well researched, but at 18500, 1ZWL is equivalent to 0.005us cents and not 0.005 of the 1usd.

    1. Anonymous

      All that’s taking place regards our economy has nothing to do with economics. This is just sabotage from rich western nations bent on destabilising Zimbabwe for daring to challenge the so called world order. Nothing makes economic sense these days. Banks are filling for bankruptcy in USA eg silicon valley, credit suisse etc yet someone suggests we throw away our sovereignty and tie ourselves to the green back. Printing money to curb inflation was regarded a communist principle of economics but USA is doing just that. Nationalisation was also deemed a communist principle of economics yet the biggest bank in USA, JPMorgan is now 100%owned by the government. So the question i pose is if USA is a capitalist economy does it make economic sense to anybody given above principles. So our case is not just ordinary but is a special case born out of politics for which political decisions should be made an our government is doing that. Instead of Mthuli resigning there has to be a paradigm shift with reformation of multilateral lending institutions being reformed, the UN also must reform in such manner that will bring fairness to the economic and political arena. Better we join Russia and their Bricks initiative to bring the world to fairness. Zimbabwe’s economic situation is all artificially engineered with economic hitman running amok all over the place. Take the rhodesian case where the byard amandements put into effect the chrome act which led to USA, buying all of rhodesia’s chrome, with rhodesian ranked 2nd to the Soviet Union yet this was a country under UN sanctions not unilateral sanctions as is our case. In a nutshell, that economic hagemony of a single country must just be addressed in a fair plenary session at the UN. Only then can our economic woes end.

      1. Roy

        Very annoying reasoning from Anonymous.

        1. Cde. Rekai


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