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Tue Jul 26 08:34:26 SAST 2016

Zimbabwe adopts Chinese yuan as currency

Sapa-dpa | 30 January, 2014 08:26
Tea leaf farmers gather to collect their share of the year-end bonus from a total amount of one million yuan ($165,272) handed out by a tea leaf company in a village of Jinan, Shandong province January 20, 2014. Picture taken January 20, 2014.
Image by: CHINA DAILY / REUTERS

Zimbabwe's central bank has announced it would accept the Chinese yuan and three other Asian currencies as legal tender as economic relations have improved in recent years.

"Trade and investment ties between Zimbabwe, China, India, Japan and Australia have grown appreciably," said Charity Dhliwayo, acting governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Exporters and the public can now open accounts in yuans, Australian dollars, Indian rupees and Japanese yens, Dhliwayo said. Zimbabwe abandoned its worthless currency in 2009.

It accepts the US dollar and the South African rand as the main legal tender. Their use has helped to stabilise the economy after world-record inflation threw it into a tailspin.

Independent economist Chris Mugaga said the introduction of the Asian currencies would not make a huge difference to Zimbabwe's struggling economy.

"It is Zimbabwe's Look East Policy, which has forced this, and nothing else," he said.

President Robert Mugabe has sought to boost economic relations with Asia after his relations with the West came under strain over his policy of seizing white-owned farms.

Chinese investors have over the past two decades entered diamond mining, construction and retail sectors in the south-east African country.

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