- HARARE, Zimbabwe (AHN)
- Analysts say that hyperinflation in Zimbabwe will bring about a complete
economic collapse within the next six months. Such a standstill could lead
to civil unrest that can paralyze President Robert Mugabe's government,
according to a warning international aid agencies gave their staff members.
- Inflation in Zimbabwe soared to a record 4,530 percent
in May and the cost of living for an average family in an urban area rose
by 66 percent last month.
- The respected Heads of Agencies Contact Group representing
a 34 aid organizations that include the United Nations, the International
Federation of the Red Cross and Oxfam issued the warning in an internal
memorandum. It is the first sign that aid groups are preparing for the
- The bluntly worded memorandum is "talking about
a situation where there is no functioning government or a total breakdown,"
said an agency official who asked not to be identified, the Times reports.
- "It is saying it is inevitable, not just a possibility,"
he said. "Our head offices have to know. Not many people have experienced
this kind of crisis." The document says that inflation will continue
to snowball, adding, "economic collapse is expected before the end
- The memorandum noted that aid agencies are forced to
pay workers twice a week and will have to give raises after inflation continues
to erode purchasing power. According to reports from the BBC, some employers
are paying workers part of their wages in food, signaling a return to a
barter economy and further dampening hope that stability will return to
- The memorandum foresees a time when the currency will
be worthless, shops will close, services become unavailable, unemployment
and crime soar and civil unrest break out.
- It notes that electricity use was cut to four hours a
day so that farmers could operate. Food production is critical and observers
say the bad economic conditions were created by President Mugabe's decision
to seize farms from white landowners.
- AHN has previously reported on the crisis in Zimbabwe's
health care system where doctors have gone on strike for better conditions
and wages and nurses have been unable to report for work because they cannot
afford bus fare. The health care system has already collapsed, according
to Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights.
- Although elections are set for March 2008, analysts say
that it will be impossible to hold free and fair elections if the nation
collapses before then. President Mugabe has been in power for 27 years
while the nation currently suffers from an 80 percent unemployment rate
and a negative growth rate of -4.4 percent annually.