Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Zimbabwe Ruined

The Zimbabwe Ruins, as visited by the author back in July.

There are two articles in the press today about Zimbabwe. The first is in the Economist magazine, where they have unveiled their country growth forecasts for 2008. Modest or strong growth is predicted for the majority of sub-saharan African countries. The exception is Zimbabwe where the economy is expected to shrink drastically in 2008.

Contrast that with Zimbabwe's own forecast of 4% growth for 2008, announced last month by Zimbabwe's Finance Minister.

I know which forecast I'm putting my money on.

I may even bet my 1,000 Zimbabwe Dollar note that I kept when I left the country in July. And the other story today was that Zimbabwe is to issue new banknotes with values of 250,000, 500,000 and 750,000 dollars. The 200,000 dollar note (which was introduced when I was there) will be phased out...

...and if you wonder what you could buy with a 250,000 dollar note?

How about a Big Mac.

Central Bank Governor and Finance Minister - two of the hardest jobs imaginable.

But I'm sure - like Mugabe's other cronies - they'll be living in luxury as their forecasts and the fortunes of millions of their impoverished countrymen go down the toilet.

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