Zimbabwe’s long forgotten bearer cheques have resurfaced on the streets of Harare, with money changers paying United States dollars for the notes.
A survey carried out by the Daily News yesterday confirmed that the notes — introduced at the height of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis characterised by hyperinflation in 2003 — are now on demand.The money changers buy the valueless notes and are reportedly re-selling them to collectors.
“The notes are on demand. A $100 trillion note is fetching between US$5 and US$10 dollars depending on the condition,” a money changer only identified as Rejoice said, but refused to disclose who the buyers were.
Rejoice, who operates at Eastgate Mall in the Harare central business district, added that a $50 trillion note would go for US$1,50. Among the bearer cheques that are on demand is the $20 trillion, $10 trillion, $500 million, $100 000, $5 million, $5 000 and $25 billion notes.
The bearer cheques — rendered useless by unprecedented hyperinflation were abandoned by the government in 2009 and replaced by a multi-currency system dominated by the US dollar.According to the International Monetary Fund, the inflation figures were above 500 billion percent.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is set to introduce bond notes — a currency surrogate to the US dollar — in October.