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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 April 2007, 21:00 GMT 22:00 UK
Zimbabwe inflation reaches 2,200%
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe
President Mugabe is accused of ruining a thriving economy
Inflation in Zimbabwe reached a record 2,200% in March amid a deepening economic and political crisis.

This is the highest rate in the world. The figures had been due for release earlier this month but were delayed.

Zimbabweans spend any money they have as soon as they can, before prices rise even higher.

At least 80% of Zimbabwe's population of about 13 million is living below the poverty line, according to figures from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Unions.

Devaluation or not?

Central bank Governor Gideon Gono said the official exchange rate would remain 250 Zimbabwe dollars to US$1.

But he announced a new rate of Z$15,000 for some exporters, international organisations, gold miners, tobacco farmers and remittances from expatriates.

The best thing for Zimbabwe is for it to go through its own process of political growth.
Dan, Frederick

Analysts say this amounts to an effective 60-fold devaluation but this was denied by Mr Gono.

"We have not devalued the dollar but sought ways to enhance the viability of foreign currency generators in a sector specific way," he said.

Analysts say Mr Gono is trying to bring more foreign currency into the official economy instead of the black market, where the rate is Z$25,000 to $1.

Exporters claim their businesses have been devastated by this skewed exchange rate.

Mr Gono earlier that month said Zimbabwe was suffering from "economic HIV".

President Robert Mugabe's critics accuse him of destroying what was one of Africa's most developed economies.

He blames the economic problems on western countries trying to topple him.

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