When will the African Union come to the aid of Zimbabwe?
Somebody's got to remove Mugabe from power...
Inflation in Zimbabwe has reached such proportions that it destroyed the value of a new national currency before a single one of its banknotes had been spent.
The world's highest inflation rate, which rose to a record 1,594 per cent yesterday, rendered the new money worthless before it could be distributed. Mounds of banknotes — all paid for in scarce hard currency — are lying unused in warehouses.
President Robert Mugabe's regime ordered the new money from a German company, Giesecke and Devrient, in 2004. At that time, inflation was a relatively modest 400 per cent and Mr Mugabe was anxious to avoid the impression of economic chaos.
Jonathan Moyo, then information minister, disclosed that Mr Mugabe personally insisted that a banknote of 1,000 Zimbabwe dollars could be the highest denomination of the new currency.
"In early 2004, Mugabe thought that inflation had been conquered and he refused to allow notes of a value higher," said Mr Moyo.
Yet by the time the new currency had been designed, printed and delivered, Z$1,000 had a purchasing power of about nine pence. Today, it would be just enough to buy a box of matches.
Rather than release a currency whose largest banknote is roughly the value of one tomato, the Reserve Bank in the capital, Harare, simply stockpiled the useless money.