Even Beggars Don't Want Zimbabwe's New Coins

Locals consider them worthless
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2015 10:32 AM CST
Even Beggars Don't Want Zimbabwe's New Coins
Blind beggars and their families are seen on the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, on February, 4, 2014.   (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

American bills have been used in Zimbabwe since the country adopted the US dollar in 2009. American coins? Not so much. Coins are more difficult to get into circulation, so locals had been using lollipops, gum, and pens as change, Reuters reports. Last month, however, Zimbabwe introduced its own "bond coins"—so named because of the $50 million bond that made them possible—with the same denominations and value as US coins. The only problem: Nobody wants to use them. Many in Zimbabwe fear shop owners will refuse the coins, while others worry they could mean a return of the Zimbabwe dollar, under which hyperinflation reached a mind-boggling 500 billion percent.

Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald reports that the reintroduction of the Zimbabwe dollar "remains implausible" as locals are haunted by "the losses they suffered when the Zimbabwe dollar was suddenly demonetized." But a correspondent who handed bond coins to a beggar in the capital of Harare received "a burst of laughter and a 'no thanks,'" reports Reuters. With commercial banks placing smaller-than-expected orders, just $2.5 million worth of coins were in circulation of the $10 million imported last week. Most prefer South African rand coins, a shop owner says. (More Zimbabwe stories.)

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