World's Most Bizzarre Financial Disaster

Zimbabwe Gives Up on Its Own Currency

You know what currency they use in Zimbabwe? Any currency that doesn’t come from Zimbabwe. As of now, the only kind of currency used there comes from other countries.

That’s thanks to Zimbabwe’s world-record breaking inflation, which in November 2008 peaked at around – wait for it – 79,600,000,000%. And chances are that number’s a bit too low. Because at some point between ’08 – ’09, the Zimbabwean government just gave up tracking it.

In 2008, pay in Zimbabwe was measured in trillions of dollars – which isn’t as awesome as it sounds. Their average teacher’s pay at the time converted to about SGD 1.40 per month.

Computers in banks froze up, because there were too many zeroes to handle. Digital displays were rendered useless, because imagine if the pump at the petrol station had to display $400 trillion.

Their central bank got so fed up, they decided to just slash 10 zeroes off all the currency notes – a method we’re pretty sure is featured in no macroeconomics textbook ever.

How did iy happen? Well there are plenty of causes, but most fingers point at the Democratic Republic of Congo. Zimbabwe financed two wars there, and started printing money to pay for the soldier and equipment.

On top of that, the country was afflicted with wide scale corruption. We’re talking banks that would be thrown out of a time share salesmen’s convention for being too unethical.

But hey, they’re bound to recover. By doing things like spending USD 16,000,000+ on Mugabe’s birthday, giant statues of him, and his daughter’s wedding.