Money Changers Beat Lockdown By Retreating To Suburbs

The 21-day national lockdown which commenced on March 30 has not stopped illegal money changers from conducting their business, with most of them having retreated to residential suburbs.

25-year-old Philip Mundozo of Kambuzuma suburb in Harare told Al Jazeera that his customers now contact him telephonically and come to his house to conduct transactions. He said:

I cannot go to town, but that has not stopped me from doing my work. Customers call me and come to my house to trade.

… I just make sure that when they [customers] come I observe social distancing [because] in as much as I need money to sustain my family, I don’t want to get infected or to infect them.

Before President Emmerson Mnangagwa issued the 21-day stay-at-home order, Mundozo was operating from Harare’s popular bus terminal – Copa Cabana.

Muzondo, like other money changers, charge fees for “cash-in, cash-out services” that allow customers on the country’s mobile EcoCash platform to convert electronic balances in their mobile money wallets into hard currency, and vice versa.

Zimbabwean authorities outlawed the use of the people’s choice of currency, the United States Dollar in June 2019.

However, following the coronavirus global pandemic outbreak, the country’s monetary authorities allowed those with “free funds” to transact in foreign currency but fixed the exchange rate at US$1: ZWL$25 far below the “real” convertibility which is currently 1:49.

More: Al Jazeera

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