Zimbabwe elections- time to make money


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The same goes for newspapers and radio stations whose advertising revenue has shot up as candidates compete to get their message out to voters.

The car rental industry is also among the beneficiaries. At Impala Car rental, one of the largest car hire companies in the country, demand is so high they have run out of vehicles to rent out.

At present the company has at least 300 vehicles out on the streets – double the average number. It is the busiest period it has ever had.

“We get a lot of car hires from different NGOs and election observers,” Tracy Ngoma, a manager at the company, said.

“Comparing business to the past two months, we have seen a rise in our figures so we know it is from the election season and we hope it will continue like this,” added Ngoma.

In 2009, the landlocked southern African country abandoned its currency amid sky-high inflation. The US dollar is currently the main currency for doing business in the country where a cash shortage is strangling the already hard-pressed businesses.

Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank introduced “bond notes” in 2016 to deal with the dollar shortage. But instead of improving the situation, the notes helped increase the demand for dollars.

But that is now changing thanks to candidates splashing out to promote their campaigns.

“Before the election, the situation was bad,” says Nelo Kamukore, a black market money exchanger.

“The dollar-to-bond rate is better now thanks to the politicians spending money,” he adds. “The bond is worth more now which means people can buy more with their bonds. I hope it stays the same after the election is over.”

Experts agree that the campaign period has been a welcome relief for the country’s damaged economy – but warn that the good times will not last long.

“The election has been a time for some businesses to make money – there’s lots of money being spent on campaigning and on consumption,” says economist Vince Musewe.

He was quick to add, however, that the current trickle of cash into the economy is not a long-term fix for Zimbabwe’s financial woes

“The money circulating now in the system is not sustainable beyond elections. We have to face the liquidity crisis head-on – whoever wins the election will have to do this to get the country back on track,” added Musewe.

Back at Samora Machel Avenue, Shapure is not looking forward to business as usual after the election season is over.

“I want it to continue,” he says, just as campaigning enters its final stretch.

“It is the only time we make good money.”

By Hamza Mohamed for Al Jazeera

 

(104 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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