Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Zimbabwe's annual rate of inflation has surged to 2,200,000%, official figures have shown
The figure is the first official assessment of prices in the troubled African nation since February, when the rate of inflation stood at 165,000%. Zimbabwe, once one of the richest countries in Africa, has descended into economic chaos largely blamed on the policies of President Robert Mugabe. Rising costs are forcing retailers to increase prices a number of times a day for goods purchased with billion dollar bank notes and the number of people falling into poverty is on the rise. In May 2008, the central bank issued a 500m Zimbabwe dollar banknote, worth US$2 at the time of issue, to try to ease cash shortages amid the world's highest rate of inflation. This is in stark contrast with the situation at independence in 1980 when one Zimbabwe dollar was worth more than US$1.