Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Global affairs alert: Zimbabwe (starvation approaches)

You guys may find this interesting. Sad, but interesting, and it's better to see these things coming. Who knows, maybe knowing will even let us do something to mitigate--or prevent it from happening again:

In the past two weeks the Zimbabwe economy has seen two really significant developments. The first is the total collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar and the second is the sharp deterioration in basic food supplies.

On Tuesday a local banker told me that the cost of money transactions in Zimbabwe dollars now exceeded the value of their transactions. Simply put that means if you are trading or shifting money in the form of the Zimbabwe domestic currency, you will be losing money even if you are charging interest and other charges related to the transactions that are involved.

So business here is now only possible if you work in a hard currency – the Rand or the US Dollar. This creates two other problems – how to obtain the hard currency in the first place and then, once you have the money, to use it without breaking the law which still prohibits such transactions. [snip]

On the food front the situation has deteriorated sharply in the past month. Humanitarian agencies have full warehouses but cannot get the food to the people who need it. The reasons are that the agencies cannot access cash for their operations – hard currency transactions are still illegal and the cash withdrawal limits and other restrictions imposed by the Reserve Bank are making local payments impossible – they cannot pay for hotels or staff salaries and cannot pay transporters to take the food to where it is needed. [snip]
So far all we can find evidence of are contracts for a total of 175 000 tonnes and even this meagre import programme seems to have spluttered to a halt. That leaves a total shortfall of 625 000 tonnes – possibly 800 000 tonnes because it is most unlikely that local production was 600 000 tonnes – most commentators say 425 000 tonnes.

This means that the shortfall is still probably 50 per cent of consumption and we still have 5 months to go to the end of the forecast supply period (April 2008 to March 2009).

P.S. I'm going great. I made a surprising discovery recently. Hope you're all well.
"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

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