HARARE, Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe, without its own currency for a decade, took steps to address its worsening economic crisis by allowing its surrogate currency, bond notes, to float against other major currencies, abandoning an official but artificial parity with the dollar.
Zimbabwe has not had a local currency since 2009 when it abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar due to hyperinflation that reached 500 billion percent, according to the IMF. To curb the ruinous inflation, Zimbabwe adopted a multi-currency system dominated by the U.S dollar.
However, a shortage of cash dollars pushed the government in 2016 to issue a surrogate currency called bond notes, to trade alongside electronic money, which are funds electronically deposited into bank accounts.
Most Zimbabweans are paid electronically into their bank accounts, but they cannot easily convert those funds into cash.