Zimbabwe Issues Coins for Christmas

WORLD

Zimbabwe, which abandoned its currency in 2009, has issued special coins to go into circulation in the run-up to Christmas. (BBC)

Use our maps to find Zimbabwe and put it in context in Africa.

Teachers, scroll down for a short list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

Hyperinflation, the rapid increase in the prices of goods and services, led the Zimbabwean government to abandon the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009. $100 trillion bills like this one were a mark of runaway inflation—the reason why a central bank governor described Zimbabwe as a "financially traumatized society." Photograph by Marianian, courtesy Wikimedia. According to clause 50 of the Copyright Act of Zimbabwe, Chapter 26:1, this work is in the public domain because it is either an image of a banknote which has been demonetized in terms of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act Chapter 22:10, or an image of a coin or the artistic work defining the design of a coin.

Hyperinflation, the rapid increase in the prices of goods and services, led the Zimbabwean government to abandon the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009. $100 trillion bills like this one were a mark of runaway inflation—the reason why a central bank governor described Zimbabwe as a “financially traumatized society.”
Photograph by Marianian, courtesy Wikimedia. According to clause 50 of the Copyright Act of Zimbabwe, Chapter 26:1, this work is in the public domain because it is either an image of a banknote which has been demonetized in terms of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act Chapter 22:10, or an image of a coin or the artistic work defining the design of a coin.

Discussion Ideas

  • The short BBC article says that Zimbabwe “abandoned its currency” in 2009. What is currency? What is the currency your nation uses?
    • Currency is money or other resource that can be used to buy goods and services.
    • The United States uses the dollar as its unit of currency. Canada uses the Canadian dollar. Mexico uses the peso. The United Kingdom uses the pound. The European Union uses the Euro. India uses the rupee.

 

  • If Zimbabwe no longer issues its own money, how do Zimbabweans pay for goods and services?
    • Businesses accept the currencies of some other countries.

 

  • What currencies do you think are used in Zimbabwe?
    • The most popular currencies used in Zimbabwe include the U.S. dollar, the Euro, the Botswana pula, the U.K. pound, and the South African rand.

 

  • Why do you think the central bank of Zimbabwe issued the new coins?
    • The bank issued coins to help combat inflation, which has historically made Zimbabwe a “financially traumatized society.” Prior to the withdrawal of the Zimbabwean dollar, inflation caused prices in Zimbabwean stores to fluctuate by the hour.
      • Because Zimbabwe trades in such varied currency, many consumers and retailers continue to worry about price fluctuation. South Africa, for instance, is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner and the rand is an important unit of currency in Zimbabwe. (The new coins, in fact, were minted in South Africa.) However, the rand is weak against the dollar, which is the strongest and most popular unit of currency in Zimbabwe. This dual currency can contribute to an unstable economy.
    • Specifically, the coins may help shoppers. The variety of currencies used means that “small change” coins are often in short supply. According to the BBC, shoppers are given change in candies or pens. The single-unit currency allows shoppers to get change in actual money.

 

  • If Zimbabwe doesn’t have its own currency, how are the new coins being valued?
    • The coins are pegged to the U.S. dollar, issued in 1-cent, 5-cent, 10-cent, and 25-cent denominations—pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.

 

  • What do you think the reaction to the coins has been in Zimbabwe?
    • Suspicious. Zimbabweans generally do not want a return of the currency that led to such financial instability. According to the South African Times, central bank chief John Mangudya has assured Zimbabweans he too “fears” the return of the local currency and has no intention of bringing it back now—this is a temporary, limited measure to “plug a small change gap.” (Zimbabweans continue to be suspicious, as the government just announced it would not be able to pay teachers’ and nurses’ annual bonuses.)

 

  • Does the U.S. have a central bank that issues currency and determines how much that currency is worth?

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

BBC: Zimbabwe economy: New coins in circulation for Christmas

Nat Geo: MapMaker 1-Page Maps: Zimbabwe

Nat Geo: Africa MapMaker Kit

Times (South Africa): Zimbabweans suspicious of new ‘bond coins’

2 responses to “Zimbabwe Issues Coins for Christmas

  1. Pingback: 11 Things We Learned This Week | Nat Geo Education Blog·

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