Zimbabwe finance minister hopes crypto can solve cash shortage

September 17, 2018
Chris Wheal

Cryptocurrency could help solve Zimbabwe’s liquidity crunch, according to the country’s recently appointed finance minister.

Mthuli Ncube, who became Zimbabwe’s minister of finance less than a fortnight ago, said he wanted the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to create a cryptocurrency division with the aim of helping the country to benefit from digital assets.

Cash shortage

Ncube believes crypto could help alleviate the cash shortage that has plagued Zimbabwe for the past two years.

He cited Switzerland as a country that has become something of a pioneer in crypto.

“One can pay for travel using bitcoin in Switzerland. So, if these countries can see value in this and where it’s headed, we should also pay attention. We have innovative youngsters so the idea shouldn’t be to stop it and say don’t do this, but rather the regulators should invest in catching up with them and find ways to understand it, then you regulate it because you now understand it,” said Ncube.

Ncube

Ncube believes digital assets could help solve cash shortage

Struggle

Zimbabwean banks have imposed limits on the amounts that depositors can withdraw, while the economy remains depressed with high unemployment and a government that is struggling to fund public services.

The government has been attempting to revive the economy in the aftermath of the hyperinflation that came with the Mugabe era.

Ncube’s comments indicate he advocates following a similar path to Venezuela, which has created its own digital currency, the petro.

However, officials at the RBZ have previously cautioned against the creation of a similar digital currency for Zimbabwe, citing fears over its potential role in money laundering, terrorism and unregulated trading activity.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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