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 April 12, 2009

Zimbabwe Suspends Use of Own Currency

Zimbabwe is suspending the use of its own currency, as the government tries to rebuild the country's shattered economy.

State media Sunday quoted Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma as saying the Zimbabwean dollar "will be out for at least a year" because, in his words, "there is nothing to support and hold its value."

Hyperinflation in 2007 and 2008 made Zimbabwe's currency virtually worthless despite the introduction of bigger and bigger notes, including a 10 trillion dollar bill.

Prices have stabilized or fallen since the government legalized the use of other currencies including the U.S. dollar in January.

Zimbabwean leaders have asked for billions of dollars in foreign aid to restore broken government services and revive the economy.

The country is suffering from food shortages and more than 90 percent unemployment.

Critics blame the situation on the policies of President Robert Mugabe, especially the seizure of white-owned commercial farms.  Mr. Mugabe blames interference and sanctions by Western governments led by former colonial power Britain.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters. 


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