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The Pandemic’s Positive Spin on Harare’s Economy

Zimbabwe’s central bank governor said that official remittances from the diaspora were up 45% during the January-September period from 2019 at $657.7m as Covid-19 lockdowns forced people to send cash home via official channels. Most of Zimbabwe’s more than 2-million-strong diaspora live in SA, and often send money via unofficial channels, including buses and trucks. Diaspora remittances are an important source of foreign exchange for Zimbabwe, which is in the grip of its worst economic crisis in more than a decade that has seen worsened dollar shortages. Africa-focused money transfer firms have seen a boom despite predictions from the World Bank of a historic 20% drop to $445bn in remittances to poorer countries in 2020 due to the pandemic-induced economic slump worldwide. At the same time the finance minister reiterated that the economy was expected to grow by 7.4% in 2021 after contracting by 4.1% in 2020.