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Tags: Air Force, fibre optic cables, Heroes' Day, investment, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe economy
Categories : photography, Technology
It’s a public holiday today; Heroes’ Day when we are expected to remember the heroes who fought for Zimbabwe (against me) and are buried in Heroes’ Acre. From what I could see going into town precious few of Harare’s residents were giving the afore-mentioned heroes much thought as they participated in football clinics or just generally relaxed. It’s not that surprising – most Zimbabweans are too young to remember the war. I was on my way to a French lesson with Shelton. Half the way through there was a roar and we looked up to see a formation of 4 training jets go over on their way to the National Stadium where Bob was addressing the crowds. Shelton cynically commented (in French) that the crowds where mostly there to see the high profile football match after the ceremony.
It is true that we have little left to celebrate in Zimbabwe. The economy is in tatters and shows little sign of rejuvenation. We have extremely bad press worldwide and tourism is moribund despite the mostly friendly population and great weather. Then on the way back home I noticed a bundle of fibre optic cable casings lying on a manhole cover and thought; no, there IS still some hope! Somebody is still investing in Zimbabwe regardless of the apparently dismal future. Actually fibre optic cables have been going in all around town for at least the last 18 months but at least they are continuingto be put in.
Tech spaghetti too – I got some funny looks from passers by whilst photographing a pile of piping!
Tech Spaghetti – fibre optic cable casings
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Tags: CBZ, stock exchange listings, stock market listings, Zimbabwe economy, Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, ZSE
Categories : News & Various
It was not an auspicious start.
“What are you looking for?” asked the attendant in the very dim interior of CBZ bank in Borrowdale.
“The withdrawal slips” I replied.
“Here you are” he said, handing me a photocopy of the usual slip.
I wondered if they were photocopied because that was the only way they could keep up with demand or maybe there was a more prosaic reason. I filled it in to draw the estimated $3000 that I needed to buy seed and various other inputs for the remainder of the month and moved to the queue. There were no lights and the TV (yes, Zimbabwe banks have a TV on to entertain those in the queues) kept turning on and off and then gave up. A fan at the other end of the counter put up a valiant attempt and then gave up too. The lights remained off.
“Hello Mr Roberts” the teller greeted me in her usual cheery fashion. I looked over at the blank computer monitor and gave her the withdrawal slip.
“Oh, we are only giving out $1000 per person” she said on seeing the amount. “You will have to speak to the manager if you want more”.
I exchanged the standard “how are you” greetings with the manager and to my surprise she said “Actually I am not happy, the generator has packed up” and proceeded to phone around to get someone to come and help. She also told me that I could only draw $1000 a day. I applied a bit of pressure and made no move to leave her office. She tried another tactic: “By this weekend you will be able to draw as much as you like”. I said yes, but I had to get inputs NOW! She eventually gave up and I handed over the cash withdrawal slip and left her office.
Now the stock market listings may not be everyone’s idea of light entertainment but most people have not seen the ZSE (Zimbabwe Stock Exchange) listings. I turned to the back page of The Herald business section on the bank manager’s desk. I would think most countries list share prices in “whole” currency units but in Zimbabwe we list them in US cents! All of 4 companies were listed as trading shares at over $1 and though some were not trading at all (not sure why) some were trading at a lot less than 1c. Gulliver 0.01c, Celsys 0.04c, Cairns Foods 0.07c. The vast majority showed negative growth with Gulliver – once a top construction company – nearly leading the pack at -63% for this month (that has to take some doing!) and Ariston at the other end of the spectrum up 56% for the month with a share price at around 1.30c.
“I guess this puts the economy in perspective” I said to the manager as she came back into her office with my money. She just shook her head.
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Tags: banking, diamonds, liquidity, Zimbabwe economy
Categories : News & Various
“There’s just no liquidity” said Phil the Banker, glumly shaking his head. I also blame this lack of cash on the run of poor business we’ve had at the nursery over the last 3 months. Of course, having to rely on diesel power to irrigate one’s crops as the national power grid is so unreliable doesn’t help either.
“Yes”, I replied, “we are just not producing anything”. This is not strictly true, we areproducing lots of diamonds, probably in excess of 1 billion US dollars worth but precious little (excuse the pun) is getting back into the economy.
The retail economy is definitely suffering too. I have been doing a bit of browsing with view to replace at least one of the armchairs I own that probably predate me – they are more than a bit tatty and uncomfortable too. I have been into three outlets that sell furniture this week and in all cases I was the only person in the shop. The cheapest armchair I could find was US$450 which puts replacing the entire suite well into the fantasy realm. Yes, I don’t have the liquidity either! There was not a lot of choice in style either and curiously, just about everything was covered in leather which is obviously targeting the luxury market. Made in Zimbabwe? Just one chair.