There was a lot of excitement back when the RBZ initially announced that they would be selling gold coins. That excitement reached its peak when the RBZ revealed that these coins could be used like money to buy and sell goods and services in addition to them being assets that could be used to store value. The mood changed when it became clear the coins were simply too big for everyday use. At around US$1 800 they were just too big for most everyday tasks such as you using them to buy bread and other basics. Now the RBZ has revealed that they are working on other smaller value coins that could be used for everyday transactions.

Following the successful launch of the gold coins on 25 July 2022 and in response to public demand, the Bank shall introduce and release into the market gold coins in smaller units of a tenth ounce, quarter ounce and half an ounce for sale with effect from mid-November 2022.

The features, characteristics and the sale terms and conditions shall remain the same as the current trading arrangements of the gold coins in circulation.

RBZ Governor Mangudya

The original Mosi oa Tunya gold coins currently on the market weigh one troy ounce a common gold unit of measure that equates to 31.1034768 grams. The gold is 22 carats pure and the coins are sold at around a 5% premium above the value of the underlying gold. This gives the original coins a value of around US$1 800 although that is much less when they are sold in ZWL. Based on this we can estimate that the smallest coin that the RBZ is planning to issue (at one-tenth of a troy ounce) will be worth around US$180.

That is still a little big for a coin but it is much smaller compared to the current coin which is worth 10 times that much. It means if the smaller coin comes out there it can easily be used for everyday transactions such as buying groceries and paying for fuel in return for change. This will not be a frictionless endeavour. The gold coin is basically a different currency whose value will fluctuate based on factors such as the value of the gold contained within it. Those issues are not insurmountable as Zimbabweans have become quite adept at keeping abreast of various exchange rates including the Euro, USD and Rand.

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