Soon the RBZ will introduce a $100 ZWL (also colloquially known as a bond) note. This was revealed in Statutory Instrument 68A of 2022 which was recently gazetted by the government. While naturally, everyone is talking about it and there is a bit of excitement in the grand scheme of things this is a non-event. Before we get to that let us look at some of the features of the upcoming note.

  • O the front side, the dominant feature shall be the logo of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (three balancing rocks), with the visually impaired recognition feature to the left, a latent image showing the denomination, windowed security strip inscribed “RBZ” with a colour shift from red to green, watermark with the highlighted inscription “RBZ” and see-through of Zimbabwe Bird looking to the left in perfect register, as secondary features;
  • On the backside, there shall be an impression of the Great Zimbabwe Monument and the Baobab Tree, a gold-coloured iridescent band showing the denomination of the note and see-through of the Zimbabwe Bird looking to the right.

A non-event

We gave up on having local cash currency and no one is even talking about the cash crisis anymore. If the RBZ really wanted to solve the local cash shortage they would produce something like a $10 000ZWL and I doubt that would be enough. Right now bread is going for almost $250 ZWL+ in most shops and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes up further in response to the war in Ukraine and the skyrocketing rate and fuel prices. This means that you will need more than 3 notes in order to buy a loaf.

The fact that this will be the biggest note is as laughable as it is sad. The note will be less than US$0.50. A $10 000ZWL note would be closer to US$45 at current black market rates but it’s doubtful the government will do that. They are committed to the fiction that their printing ridiculously small notes will somehow keep inflation low even when they keep “printing” mountain loads of RTGS through other means. Inflation has remained consistently high even though it’s lower than in 2019 and 2020.