Thursday, March 27, 2008

Zimbabwe's enigmatic millions

As Ralph drove me to his rose farm in Enterprise Valley, some thirty kilometres outside Harare, he explained how anyone with access to foreign currency and local credit can become a Rockefeller in the new Zimbabwe.

"I bought my farm in 2000 for the equivalent of $150,000 US dollars," he said. "Paid for it in Zimbabwean currency, of course. Borrowed the whole lot from a local bank." The bank charged thirty percent interest on the loan, which would be a lot if inflation weren't outpacing it by several thousand percent. A year and a half later, Ralph's debt had shrunk to the equivalent of USD$18,000 and he paid it off with the proceeds from a single truckload of flowers.

Read more from Arno Kopecky here.