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Central Bank Offers Zimbabweans an Alternative to the US Dollar

Zimbabwe’s central bank plans to sell a gold-backed digital currency to the public from May 8 in another attempt to stabilize its tumbling currency. The tokens, to be sold through banks in local and foreign currency at a 20% margin above the interbank mid-rate, will be introduced in two phases, central bank governor John Mangudya, said in an emailed statement on Friday. The currency will initially be used for investment and then for transactions. This year, Zimbabwe’s local currency has declined 35% against the US dollar, which superseded it as the preferred currency for transactions. The central bank has been building gold reserves and acquiring other precious minerals since the introduction of a policy in 2022 that compels miners to pay part of their royalties in cash and metal. It’s banking on the stash to help it with the latest plan. Persistence Gwanyanya, a member of the central bank’s monetary policy committee, said Monday that the authority needs about $100 million of gold for the project.