You Can’t Even Get A Passport To Leave Zimbabwe – No Paper


As we reported some 6 weeks back, we’ve an interesting sign of the incompetence of Zimbabwean economic policy. It’s not actually possible to leave the country as there’s no paper to print the passport upon that will allow some other country to take you in.

With Zimbabwe’s economy in shambles and political tensions rising, leaving the country seems the best option for many who are desperate for jobs. But those dreams often end at the passport office, which doesn’t have enough foreign currency to import proper paper and ink.

This is from AP yesterday:

The delays are due to a lack of foreign currency to import special paper, ink and other materials, as well as machine breakdowns, according to the national passport agency’s registrar-general, Clemence Masango.

There is, of course, no shortage of foreign currency. There is only the wrong price for foreign currency. Something we pointed out when we brought you this story 6 weeks ago:

There was a hope that with Mugabe gone things would get better. The foolishness over RTGS, bond notes, exchange rates and so on were one sign that this might not be true. Further shafting of the tobacco farmers over FX rates was a second. And if they’re not able to deal with simply things like passports, maybe not much has improved. Well, no, that’s unkind, there’s nothing to indicate that the new government is positively malevolent which is a nice change. But we don’t seem to have had more than the most minor uptick in effectiveness or efficiency in policy making.

Plus ca change, eh?

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Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan

They could change the country name to Rhodesia and adopt GBP as their currency.