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Raphael Tabani Mpofu ORCID logo


This paper examines the impact of dollarization on the performance of the Zimbabwean economy from 2003 to 2014 using an interrupted time-series analysis. In Zimbabwe’s case, dollarization was the official replacement of the Zimbabwean dollar with the U.S. dollar. Rapid dollarization in the economy was accelerated by the exogenous shock caused by the injection of cash dollars into the Zimbabwean economy, mostly from international transfers. Since the official adoption of dollarization, Zimbabwe is largely a cash-based economy, with a huge amount of U.S. dollars that are in circulation outside the banking system. A hands-off approach to currency management has served Zimbabwe well since 2009, but a number of risks are beginning to emerge as the economy has slowly regenerated itself and the need for large capital injections has increased. Macroeconomic data obtained from the World Bank and from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Monthly Economic Review is analysed. According to the tests conducted, it was found that dollarization did introduce some macroeconomic stability in Zimbabwe although a few key macroeconomic variables showed a sustained improvement. Statistical analysis shows that increased dollarization had positively affected reversed the spiralling effects of hyperinflation that were prevalent prior to 2009, although inflationary pressures still continued, albeit at a slower pace. This research has implications not just for Zimbabwean policy makers as they grapple with decisions pertaining to re-adoption of a local currency and/or the continuation of the use of the US dollar and/or the adoption of a regional currency, for example, the South African rand. The African Union and specifically, the Southern Africa Development Community should look at these policy issues very closely in order to provide policy direction to its member states.

Keywords: Zimbabwe, SADC, African Union, Hyperinflation, Dollarization, Economic Development

How to cite this paper: Mpofu, R.T. (2015). Dollarization and economic development in Zimbabwe: An interrupted time-series analysis. Risk governance & control: Financial markets & institutions, 5(4), 38-48.