Mugabe should know his currency is a stale joke

But a day later, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said no chance.

By the time the currency was declared officially dead, the authorities had removed 25 zeroes between July last year and February this year.

With the dollarisation of the Zimbabwean economy, hyperinflation disappeared overnight. When it was last officially measured last July, it was more than 200 million percent, but it was estimated to be in the "quadrillions of percent by the third quarter", according to a report from the Imara Group, which hosted an investor conference in Harare over the past two days.

Official access to foreign currency transformed the situation. Once it was possible for importers to import, goods returned to the shelves. At the same time, the limited quantities of hard currency made consumers resistant to high prices.

The result: increased competition, which brought falling prices.

According to the International Monetary Fund, the economy contracted 14 percent last year, following a 40 percent cumulative decline between 2000 and 2007. The current account deficit rose to 28 percent of gross domestic product last year from 11 percent in 2007.

By the end of the year, Zimbabwe had US$6 million (R46m at yesterday’s exchange rate) in international reserves. External debt was US$6bn.

The prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai said he did not expect to revive the use of the Zimbabwe dollar in the near future, keeping the country dependent on foreign currencies in an attempt to rebuild the economy. 

"For economic reasons, you cannot go back to the Zimbabwe dollar unless you have increased your productivity to levels that will back it. That makes economic sense," he said.

"So I don’t anticipate the minister of finance even recommending such type of a proposal in the shortest period of time."

Mugabe said Zimbabwe may revive the use of its own currency because the U.S. dollar introduced to tame hyperinflation was unavailable to a majority of people in the countryside.