Sometimes, the smaller picture reveals the bigger picture.
When Zimbabwe became independent in 1980, the British left behind a strong economy. The national currency, the Zimbabwean Dollar, was as strong as the Pound Sterling. Twenty-five years later, in 2005, Zimbabwe held the world record for inflation.
The country started printing notes of millions and even billions of dollars.
The note with the highest value of all time in world history, came from Zimbabwe and was worth 100 000 billion (Zimbabwean dollars).
At that time (2005), « you had to fill your backpack with notes just to buy a mere bottle of water », explains a Zimbabwean tourist guide. And this 100 000 billion Zimbabwean Dollar note, was worth only ten U.S. dollars.
In 2008, Robert Mugabe, the very president who caused this crisis, suddenly decided to give up the national currency and declared the US Dollar as the official currency.
Overnight, all Zimbabweans lost all of their savings. At the time, the crisis was very serious in Zimbabwe.
Now, a few years later, these old notes have become an object of curiosity for tourists and can be bought for a few U.S. dollars in the local markets. This is the small picture that reminds us of the bigger picture not so long ago.
I personally bought a 20 billion dollar note for 5 U.S. dollars. This is how I became a billionaire when I visited Zimbabwe.
This is an excerpt from the article « Sa majesté Victoria, » which appeared in the « Bilan LUXE » magazine, November 2013.