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Following Zimbabwe Shift to Hard-Currency Regime, Cash Shortages Persist

Hard currencies have replaced the Zimbabwe dollar, but cash shortages remain a challenge for consumers who are seeing prices fall but have difficulty obtaining foreign exchange.

The Central Statistical Office announced this week that the average family of five needs US$461 dollars a month to pay rent, buy food, cover transport costs and meet water and electric power rates - all of which must now be paid in hard currency.

Consumer prices have fallen in each of the past three months - but lower prices nonetheless remain out of reach for many Zimbabweans without access to hard currencies.

Organizing Secretary Ambrose Sibindi of the Bulawayo Progressive Residents' Association told reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that life for the average consumer has become a relentless quest for scarce foreign exchange.

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