Zimbabwe Launches $100B Bill

Note likely to prove ineffectual against hyperinflation
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2008 3:29 PM CDT
Zimbabwe Launches $100B Bill
An unidentified man holds the new $50 million Zimbabwean dollar note introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in Harare, Friday, April, 4, 2008.   (Associated Press)

Zimbabwe will introduce a new $100 billion bank note tomorrow to offset rampant inflation—a seemingly exorbitant sum that may not even buy a loaf of bread. The official annual inflation rate in the country tops 2,200,200%, but independent estimates peg the actual rate at many times higher. Denominations have grown exponentially since the central bank introduced a $10 million bill in January.

Zimbabwe—once one of the wealthiest countries in Africa—now faces an 80% poverty rate, shortages of basic goods, and continuing post-election violence. The country's central bank governor announced that the new bills, dubbed agro-checks, would help consumers, but most are skeptical. "Nowadays, for my expenses a day, I need about $500 billion," one resident told the BBC. (More Zimbabwe stories.)

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