Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Out of Control Number of the Month
I have been following the situation in Zimbabwe for a couple of years now, ever since my first class at Colorado College (the institution from which I graduated yesterday). My first college class was called "Issues in Contemporary Africa" and it was taught by a Professor from Zimbabwe known as Solomon Nkiwane. Solomon's class was very interesting to me and his stories from all over Africa have become legend. As would be expected, he was particularly knowledgable about the sub-saharan state of Zimbabwe and its current deterioration under the poor leadership of Robert Mugabe. Over the years since I have been paying attention, standards of living have decreased in Zimbabwe as AIDS has spread and the currancy has lost much of its value. This brings us to the "Out of Control Number of the Month." The monthly number is Zimbabwe's monthly projection of annual inflation. When the number is released every month it astounds me every time (though it probably shouldn't). Last month's figure was around 2200%, but that is nothing compared to this month's figure of 3713.9% reported by the BBC, quite a jump in just one months time. The New York Times reported that a singe sheet of toilet paper, not a roll, just one single sheet costs about Z$417, though the cost is likely much higher now. While products like toilet paper may be luxuries for many, the problem with inflation this high is that food becomes unafforadable. The cost of flour can rise to heights that cause it to be too expensive to bake bread, leaving many hungry people. As Mugabe blames this trend on sabotage by the Global North inflation continues to rise. Mugabe take responsibility and help your people!