Zimbabwe made gold legal tender and reintroduces gold standard

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The RBZ used to publish an application form for every tranche with several weeks notice before the sale (ie. the window/period between tranches used to be anywhere from 2-4 weeks). What I'm seeing today is a whole slew of tranches just days apart and there is no application form published on the RBZ (at least, not in the press release section where they used to be). Looks like something has changed with how they are handling the ZiG sales.

They are publishing press releases sporadically now (roughly every other day but it's a weird pattern):

The latest report (Feb 14) shows a cumulative total of 705.87 kgs gold sold in the ZiG program. That's almost ~90 kgs since Feb 2, so it's more or less on the same ~50kgs/week pace as what they reported in mid-late January.
Ummm so....

The Central bank accumulates a whole Ton of Gold reserves

They sold 705.87 kgs of Gold

Ok its not nearly as far off as I thought.

705.87 kilogram = 0.778088485042198 short ton
A few points:
  • The 705.87 kgms sold are a cumulative total sold since the ZiG program started back in October of last year.
  • The ton of gold reserves mentioned in the miningweekly report is strictly from a royalty program (active since September 2022)
  • The RBZ is also accumulating gold sold to the government's Fidelity Gold Refinery
  • Presumably, the RBZ is still producing and selling the Mosi-oa-Tunya gold coins, but they aren't (that I have found) publishing any sales totals for the coins
We've all seen how "gold backed" goes. Especially in third world countries. It doesn't last long.
unless the backing gets regularly audited by a third party.
And while we are at it, let's audit the 8k tons of gold that back the $
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The Zimbabwe gold mining sector seems shady AF:
Gold dealer Scott Sakupwanya says he delivered almost half of the gold sold to the official buyer, Fidelity, in 2023.

Sakupwanya says his company Better Brands delivered 13 tonnes of gold to Fidelity. That would be just short of half of the total of 30.1 tonnes sold to Fidelity in 2023. It would also be more than the 11.4 tonnes sold by large-scale miners, and 70% of the gold delivered by small-scale producers, who account for the bulk of gold sales.

"Our projections for the 2024 year are to deliver 20 tonnes of gold," Sakupwanya told Mining Zimbabwe.
Sakupwanya has controversially occupied Metallon's Redwing Mine in Penhalonga since 2020, via an arrangement with administrators who took control of the mine when it was placed under corporate rescue. In 2023, he was elected to Parliament as a Zanu-PF candidate after a controversial by-election, deepening the political clout that his gold wealth has won him. An Al Jazeera documentary in 2023 reported on his influence in the gold trading sector.

He claims that his dominance of the gold industry is due to the "relationship" he has built with gold producers and dealers. He secures the most gold by funding miners' inputs in exchange for the metal.

Says Sakupwanya: "Some examples of the innovative solutions offered by Better Brands include; providing mining inputs such as fuel and chemicals (to artisanal and small-scale miners, or ASMs), offering mining equipment to miners under a loan scheme and facilitating the purchase of inputs in local currency to prevent AsMs from engaging in informal markets."

According to Sakupwanya, "Gold buying is a relational business. strong relationships with the AsMs are crucial for one to be able to mobilise as much gold".

Better Brands holds a gold dealing licence, which allows it to buy gold, smelt it and export it. The fee for this licence was set at Us$200,000 in March 2023. Because of the high fee, there is a limited number of such licences.

With a gold dealing licence, a person can issue permits to gold buyers to buy gold on their behalf. The company's other assets include Pitana, a gold claim near Chegutu.

I just watched Lynette's video that @Voodoo posted above. She claims:
  1. the ZiG (gold backed digital token) failed to stabilize foreign exchange rates between the Zimbabwean dollar and FX markets
  2. the ZiG is not trusted by the Zimbabwean people
  3. the ZiG is not convertible to physical gold

She got point #3 correct, but I'm not sure if it matters to the locals. If they wanted physical, they could have bought the Mosi-a-Tunya gold coins. The ZiGs allow for fractional gold ownership (great for the very poor population of that nation) that, while not convertible to physical gold, can be converted to USD or used for commerce directly at the value of spot gold, so it's still more attractive than holding local Zimbabwean dollars (and even USD for that matter).

I don't know that the ZiG was ever promoted as a solution for stabilizing the local currency. It was touted as a way to stem demand for US dollars which it did to a degree (though not by October 11 - see World Bank comments from December). The October report which she used as the basis for claims 1 & 2 was covered in this thread back in post #54. It was a bit premature with the criticisms as the program was still very new and developing. You would think that a video produced in February might have considered more recent news on how the program has developed. The sales volume of the ZiG tokens appear to have really taken off in 2024 - much higher sales volume than what was reported back in 2023.

The latest report (Feb 20) shows a cumulative total of 716.13 kgs gold sold in the ZiG program. That's 10.26 kgs since Feb 14, so a huge drop in volume from the ~50 kgs/week avg of the previous 6 weeks.
Latest report is March 5 and shows a cumulative total of 759.38 kgs gold sold in the ZiG program. That's 43.25 kgs since Feb 20 (two weeks ago), so volume has picked up from the last time I looked, but still roughly half of the ~50 kgs/week avg of the start of the year.
Southern Africa-focussed metals explorer Kavango Resources has received a maiden resource estimate for the two largest tailings dumps at the Nara gold project, in Zimbabwe, revealing an indicated mineral resource of 293 000 t with an average gold content of 0.62 g/t, totalling 5 860 oz of gold contained.

Additionally, an inferred resource of 11 900 t with a gold content of 0.66 g/t, totalling 253 oz of gold contained, has been identified.

Kavango said the resource estimate highlights the potential for the tailings dumps to provide the company with a significant near-term source of gold production and early, non-dilutive free cash flow.
“Given that this is a tailings dump, all material has already been mined and there are no further mining costs. The resource estimate and high resource category achieved underline the commercial potential at Nara,” Kavango CE Ben Turney said on March 6.

As much as 96% of the mineral resource falls under the indicated category. This points to a relatively high resource quality at this early stage of the project and reflects confidence in the material's continuity. Future extraction costs are expected to be operational, eliminating the need for mining.
Kavango said it was evaluating options to commercially exploit the gold in the Nara tailings dumps.

“While our primary objective is to discover larger-scale, bulk minable gold deposits, the 6 000 oz of gold in the main tailings dump present an early opportunity for commercialising this project.

London-listed Kavango Resources has formed a new subsidiary in Zimbabwe, Kavango Mining, which will become its mining arm in the country.

Moreover, the company has signed its first contract to start immediate gold mining operations at the Hillside project, in Zimbabwe.

Kavango will take over existing mining operations at Hillside immediately, and will fund capital investment and receive 100% of revenue generated.

Gold production at Hillside has been consistently profitable for three years, the company points out.

Kavango informs that it aims to double current production to 1 kg of gold a month over the course this year.

Never heard of this company before, but it sounds like they are finding gold everywhere.
I can't see how an ounce of gold makes for a very practical coin. It isn't as if many people spend $1,900 on groceries at one time.
Right. The problem isn't the ounce or the gram, the problem is divisibility per se. Physical isn't divisible at will.
That's where digital comes to play. Digital is divisible at will.
Gold backed digital currencies are the solution to the divisibility problem.
That's one of the ways digital serves the purpose of making gold everyday money.
SABI Gold Mine in Zvishavane has increased production to 40 kilogrammes (kg) of gold bullion per month from 15kg following the resuscitation of the yellow metal producer by Anmack Mining Private Limited.
“The company also increased the crushing plant capacity from 400 tonnes per day to 1 200 tonnes per day by investing in a primary crusher.”

He commended the gold producer for selling its gold to Fidelity Gold Refinery saying the transparent and formal way taken by the firm in trading its bullion would support the growth of the Midlands provincial economy and realisation of the country’s ambitious US$12 billion mining economy by 2025.


Latest ZiG report is March 7. It's rather strange that the last report is 11 days old. They had been issuing reports daily to every two day prior to the 7th.

Zimbabwe Lets Currency Free-Fall While It Weighs Gold Standard​

(Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe, the poster child of hyperinflation, is allowing a free fall in its currency that it’s no longer keen to defend and is instead working on a new exchange rate potentially backed by gold.
“They’ve left the exchange rate to go,” said Tony Hawkins, an economist and former professor at the University of Zimbabwe. “I had never thought that the rate would be allowed to go like this. It means they are thinking of a new currency.”

This is Zimbabwe’s sixth attempt to have a functional local currency since 2008 when inflation crossing 231 million percent left it worthless. Despite previous failures due to lack of public confidence — the oxygen of any fiat currency — President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced this February his government will introduce a “structured currency.” Then, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said it may be backed by gold and the central bank postponed its monetary-policy statement to give final touches to the plan.

The indefinite postponement of the monetary-policy statement has triggered anxiety among investors, leading to speculation about whether policymakers are in agreement over how to roll out the proposed change, according to the country’s largest independent asset manager, Imara Asset Management, which oversees over $100 million.

“Neither the minister nor the central bank has come out with a clear and rationale reason around the delays,” said Shelton Sibanda, chief investment officer at the Harare-based brokerage. The lack of clarity has resulted in a “wait-and-see attitude, which is not good for planning purposes. If you are not sure how the proposed changes will impact your business, you adopt a cautious approach,” Sibanda said.

When Zimbabwe makes the switch, it will be the only country in the world with the gold standard.
The government then made the use of the US dollar illegal in 2019, but reversed that decision upon realizing that economic activity won’t happen without it. It has also been toying with gold over the last two years — introducing gold coins in 2022 and gold-backed digital tokens last year as a way to help ease the high demand for US dollars. The current plan to have a gold-linked paper currency is the culmination of this trial-and-error process.

Lingering Uncertainty

While people wait for the newest plan on the currency, the government itself is signaling its lack of confidence in the Zimbabwe dollar by using the greenback for some of its activities such as passport fees and road tolls.

Meanwhile, the central bank is preparing for a new governor at the end of April, when John Mushayavanhu will replace incumbent John Mangudya. An announcement of the structured currency may be waiting for the leadership change. In the meantime, the nation has been shoring up its bullion reserves, presumably to support the gold standard.

The new Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Dr John Mushayavanhu, assumed office yesterday after his appointment was moved a month earlier amid high expectations for him to hit the ground running and announce policy measures to curtail rising inflation and stabilise the exchange rate.

This effectively means the announcement of the long-awaited Monetary Policy Statement is imminent. It is expected to address key issues related to macro-economic stability.

Seems like the new central bank Governor has not leaked any details of the plan yet. Will he continue the ZiG and Mosi-a-Tunya programs? Will he transition to a gold standard backing for the Zimbabwean dollar? :popcorn:
Here's a report with a few more details:
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa was yesterday forced to retire Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya a month earlier to give his successor room to come up with fresh measures to stabilise the economy.
“It would not have made sense to allow Mangudya to release a Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) when he will be leaving office in a month’s time,” a source said last night.

“In addition, monetary authorities were under pressure to release the MPS after President Mnangagwa jumped the gun by announcing plans for a structured currency. The announcement caught everyone by surprise.”
He will unpack the structured currency seen as a lasting solution to the challenges afflicting the local currency.

Zimbabwe, in its latest bid to end the serial collapse of the local dollar, has replaced it with a new unit called ZiG, which will be backed by a basket of foreign currencies, gold and other precious metals.

Central Bank Governor John Mushayavanhu told a press conference in Harare, the capital, on Friday, that the ZiG would be launched on April 8 at an introductory rate of 13.56 per dollar and a new interest rate set at 20%.

How does this affect the existing ZiG (gold backed digital tokens)?

Full statement (78 page PDF) (bold emphasis is mine):
Gold coins and Gold-backed digital tokens

16. The Bank continued to use value preservation instruments which included gold coins and Gold-Backed Digital Tokens (GBDTs) to manage liquidity. A total of 39,103 gold coins of various denominations with a cumulative value of ZW$63.47 billion and US$0.8 million, had been sold as of 31 March 2024. The bulk of gold coin sales (78%) were taken up by corporates while individuals accounted for 22%.

17. A total of 1,624 gold coins were redeemed by customers between 25 January 2023 and 31 March 2024, of which 1,447 coins and 177 coins were for US$2.46 million and ZW$700.4 million, respectively. All coins which were redeemed by customers were resold to the market.

18. To increase the divisibility and affordability of gold coins, the Bank introduced Gold-Backed Digital Tokens (GBDT) measured in milligrams, which is one hundredth of a gram.

19. The Bank is currently issuing Gold-Backed Digital Tokens on tap basis. As of 31 March 2024, a cumulative total of 1163 applications were processed, purchasing tokens valued at ZW$466.99 billion and US$5.0 million. The cumulative total amount of gold purchased was 917,278,972 milligrams (equivalent to 917.2814 kg of gold) as shown in Table 1
20. As of 31 March 2024, a total of 69,949,215 GBDT had been redeemed at a value of US$4.146 million and ZW$1.6 billion. This represents under 10% of the total GBDT issued, a reflection that most of the instruments were purchased as a store of value.

Looks like the RBZ is calling what has been popularly called the ZiG for a while now simply the GBDT. I assume this means they will continue it separately from the new ZiG.

Cumulative ZiG (gold token) sales on March 31 took a pretty big (~158kg) jump from the March 5 totals reported above.

c) Introduction of New Structured Currency

149. The Reserve Bank is introducing a structured currency which is generally defined as a currency that is pegged to a specific exchange rate or currency basket and backed by a bundle of foreign exchange assets (potentially including gold). This means that a Central Bank can only issue domestic notes and coins when fully backed by a foreign “reserve” currency or foreign exchange assets and that the currency is fully convertible into the reserve currency on demand.

150. The structured currency being introduced is anchored by a composite basket of foreign currency and precious metals (mainly gold) held as reserves for this purpose by the Reserve Bank.
153. With effect from 5 April 2024, banks shall convert the current Zimbabwe dollar balances into the new currency which shall be called Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) to foster simplicity, certainty, and predictability in monetary and financial affairs. The new currency will co-circulate with other foreign currencies in the economy.

154. The swap rate will be guided by the closing interbank exchange rate and the price of gold as at 5 April 2024. The swap rate shall be used to make legitimate conversions of all ZW$ deposits in the banking sector; all ZW$ loans and advances made by the sector; ZW$ treasury bills; all outstanding auction allotments; all export surrender obligations; all prices of goods and services in ZW$; and any other ZW$ denominated obligations.

155. On conversion of all current ZW$ balances, banks are directed to rename all the current ZW$ accounts as ZiG accounts. Gold-backed Digital Token (GBDT) accounts will no longer be called ZiG accounts but will be known as GBDT accounts.
(iii) Anchor of the Currency
161. ZiG shall at all times be anchored and fully backed by a composite basket of reserves comprising foreign currency and precious metals (mainly gold), received by the Reserve Bank as part of in-kind royalties and kept in the vaults of the Bank. Foreign currency balances will be accumulated through market purchases from the 25% surrender requirements as well as sale of some precious metals received as royalties.

162. As of 5 April 2024, the Bank has reserve assets of USD 100 million in cash and 2,522 kgs of gold (US$185 million) to back the entire local currency component of reserve money which currently stands at ZW$2.6 trillion requiring full (100%) cover of gold and cash reserves amounting to US$90 million. The gold and cash reserve holdings currently with the Bank represent more than 3 times cover for the local currency being issued.

So that clears up the name confusion. How did they accumulate so much gold reserve to do this when gold sales to the coin and GBDT were already a significant share of the reported mining inflow to the Fidelity Gold Refinery? :dontknow:
Rather than gold-backed paper we should just bring gold back (coins).
Sal's take on gold in Zimbabwe

BREAKING NEWS! Zimbabwe Launches Gold Backed Currency! First To Return To Gold Standard​

Apr 7, 2024

Back in my day, we had somethin' special, somethin' solid – the gold standard! Oh, those were the days, when a dollar was as good as gold, not just a piece of paper blowin' in the wind! People knew what their money was worth, none of this flimflam of printin' money outta thin air!

But oh no, America had to go and abandon the gold standard, like tossin' out grandma's apple pie recipe! Now we're floatin' in a sea of uncertainty, with the value of money bobbin' up and down like a rollercoaster. Bring back the gold standard, I say! Let's anchor our money to somethin' real, somethin' you can hold in your hand and trust, like a good ol' gold nugget!

Those were the days, when a dollar meant somethin', by thunder! But now, it's all smoke and mirrors, like tryin' to catch a greased pig at the county fair! Ah, the gold standard, a relic of the past, but by gum, it sure kept things honest and true!
Sal's take on gold in Zimbabwe

BREAKING NEWS! Zimbabwe Launches Gold Backed Currency! First To Return To Gold Standard​

Apr 7, 2024


What is the role of blockchain in this digital currency?
Rather than gold-backed paper we should just bring gold back (coins).
No because coins today cannot be used as everyday money


Hate him as much as you want, his point is true. You can't use pieces of gold as a currency today.

I spent hours explaining to his followers that gold can be used as currency, it just needs to be integrated with the technology of our times - just as gold did throughout its history btw.

Zimbabwe's new ZiG currency starts trading, credibility doubts linger​

HARARE, April 8 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's new gold-backed currency started trading on Monday amid doubts that the country's third such re-launch in a decade will have any more success in ending repeated, crippling bouts of high inflation.

The Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) was announced on Friday by the central bank with an initial rate of 13.56 to $1, replacing the Real Time Gross Settlement Dollar (RTGS), which had lost about 80% of its value this year and had been trading at 28,720 to $1 before the change.

Bank balances were transferred into the new currency over the weekend while their customers will have 21 days to do so, and the new banknotes will enter circulation at the end of this month, according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

The RTGS, also known as the Zimdollar , was launched in 2019 after a decade of dollarization, which included so-called bond coins and bond notes, notionally pegged to the U.S. dollar and introduced in 2014 and 2016 respectively.


Zimbabwe's new gold-backed currency the ZiG strengthened a day after its debut, even as it roiled commerce nationwide as banks, retailers and utilities battled to switch to the new unit.

It gained 0.2% to 13.53 per US dollar, according to data published on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's website on Tuesday. It began trading Monday at 13.56 per dollar, using an exchange rate announced by Governor John Mushayavanhu during last Friday's unveiling of the nation's latest effort to create a functioning local currency.

The International Monetary Fund, which in February urged the liberalization of the exchange rate, said it will support authorities latest efforts to restore macroeconomic stability. But the Washington-based lender said it needed time to review the design and implications of the new currency arrangement before weighing in with an assessment.
The transition to the new currency from the Zimbabwean dollar has been a bumpy one. Most of the nation's lenders and businesses said they were still working to switch their systems to ZiGs on Tuesday. Only a third of the 27 financial institutions linked to the ZimSwitch national payments platform are able to process ZiG payments, it said in an update.


"Central Banks all around the world are starting to diversify into the Zig"

(n) "This currency is representative money, meaning it is backed by gold and foreign currency reserves."
So it's not 100% gold

(y) "S.I. 60 of 2024, in addition to introducing the new currency, provides for independent audits of the reserve assets backing it by credible and respected external auditors specifically appointed for that purpose.
The results of these audits will be published in the annual report of the @ReserveBankZIM"
Here's something you won't see in western media:
The appeal of a gold standard is that it arrests control of the issuance of money out of the hands of imperfect human beings. With the physical quantity of gold acting as a limit to issuance, a society can potentially avoid the perils of inflation.




Skimming the headlines today and it looks like Zimbabwe is going through some growing pains in rolling out their ZiG currency. As corrupt as the ruling regime is reported to be, it's going to take some extreme measures to get the people to trust the ZiG/central bank.
You still experience price fluctuations for goods and services on a gold standard, but that is based on supply and demand not running the printing presses to expand the money supply.

The gold supply will increase over time, but only iso much because of its rarity. That is one of the characteristics of gold that makes it the money of kings.

Gold supply is li.ited which limits monkey business.
Skimming headlines and it seems that the ZiG is still struggling with adoption and confidence issues. This report was a bit different though:


The ZiG banknotes boast several security features, including a colour-shifting security thread, tactile markings for the visually impaired, a Zimbabwe bird watermark, and alphanumeric numbering. They also feature QR codes, the function of which has not yet been disclosed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
Although the RBZ has not shed light on the purpose of QR codes on ZiG banknotes, other countries that have QR codes on their currency use them for enhanced security. QR codes can make counterfeiting more challenging and provide quick verification of information when scanned. Each scan validates and records the note’s details in a central database, ensuring that the note is authentic.

They look like BOGO free coupons for coconuts.
Apparently, the ZiG was only rolled out as electronic bank account units prior to today:
THE new Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) bank notes and coins go into circulation today, bringing relief to the transacting public, with confidence in the gold-backed money growing across all economic sectors.

Informal traders, commuters and other interest groups had been anxiously awaiting an alternative to the electronic payment methods which, apart from hard currency cash transactions, had been solely in use since the launch of ZiG on April 5.

Major companies in the manufacturing, retail, wholesale and aviation industries have been accepting electronic ZiG payments ahead of today’s roll out of the physical currency.

Banks yesterday took delivery of notes and coins purchased from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for commencement of withdrawals by depositors today.

The central bank has since set weekly cash withdrawal limits at ZiG3 000 for individuals and ZiG30 000 for corporates to manage the initial roll-out.

... with confidence in the gold-backed money growing across all economic sectors.

"This currency is representative money, meaning it is backed by gold and foreign currency reserves."
So it's not 100% gold

ZiG is partly gold-backed, which begs the question, how much?
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