- Almost two-thirds (63%) of Zimbabweans consider their country’s economic situation “fairly bad” or “very bad.” A majority (56%) say the same about their personal living conditions. These assessments are almost unchanged since 2014.
- Citizens’ projections of the country’s economic future are evenly divided: One-third (33%) expect things to be better in a year’s time, while about the same proportion (35%) think they will be worse.
- Only four in 10 Zimbabweans (39%) think that the recently introduced bond notes will help ease the country’s economic problems, while a plurality (49%) are pessimistic about their impact.
Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown remains an enormous challenge affecting citizens from all walks of life. The government’s 2009 introduction of various foreign currencies was welcomed by many Zimbabweans who, after years of hyperinflation, witnessed a stabilization in general consumer prices. But with lagging economic growth and a continuing drought, the country now faces deflation and has even experienced reverse urbanization due to a lack of opportunities in the cities (African Development Bank, 2016, 326).
In November 2016, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, seeking to stimulate the economy and incentivize exports, introduced a new medium of exchange – “bond notes” pegged at par value with the U.S. dollar – in a move seen by many observers as intended to ease crippling cash shortages but ultimately unsustainable.
Using 2017 Afrobarometer survey findings in Zimbabwe, this paper examines public views on the economy and the introduction of bond notes. Findings show that Zimbabweans are still largely negative in their assessments of economic conditions in their country and their own households, and that only a minority expect bond notes to provide much relief.
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