Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti is reported to have told a conference on the country's economic stabilization and reconstruction process held in Great Britain late last week that the southern African region could have its own common currency within about three years.
Biti was quoted by NewZimbabwe.com as saying that if Pretoria gave a green light the new currency could be based on the South African rand. VOA was not able to reach Biti to confirm the substance of his reported comments.
Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that although the idea of a Southern African currency zone is attractive, Zimbabwe must get its own economy back on track again if it is to be admitted as a member of the envisioned regional currency union.
Though Zimbabwe's adoption of a mixed hard-currency monetary regimen has tamed hyperinflation, consumers and businesses are now subject to shifts in the exchange rates between the U.S. dollar, the South African rand and the Botswana pula - the last circulating in particular in western Matabeleland.