After Delays The RBZ Finally Releases The $20 Note

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Based on pictures posted by various daring “money-changers” on social media it seems that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has finally released the new $20 bond note to the public. Originally the RBZ had promised to release the new $20 notes during the first week of June.

“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe wishes to advise the public that … the $10-dollar banknote will commence circulating on Tuesday 19 May 2020 and the $20 banknote will be in circulation by the first week of June 2020,” The Reserve Bank Governor said back in May.

However, when the first week of June arrived there was nothing but deafening silence on the issue. Efforts by several publications to get the governor to comment on the apparent delay were fruitless leading to some publishing articles to the effect that the bank had thrown in the towel.

The note makes an appearance on social media
It is well known that illegal-forex dealers never seem to face any problems when it comes to making large cash withdrawals. Notes are scarcely out before these illicit traders start posting pictures of themselves holding large bunches of whatever new currency/note of the day.

In a clear sign that the RBZ is not chickening out and the delays were probably logistical, several dealers have already posted images of themselves with the new notes. In times past other dealers have gotten into trouble for doing this but it seems others are not deterred.

Showers in a desert
No doubt the new note will be a welcome injection into an economy that has suffered from cash shortages for about four years. However even before it arrived the $20 note had already lost its value against the greenback. At the current rate of $58 as to $1 USD the note is worth about $0.35 leading to a familiar refrain that the note won’t even buy a loaf of bread. In fact, to buy a loaf of bread you will need more than two of these new notes.

With the memory of the last economic meltdown in 2008 fresh in everyone’s minds, the bank has been rather cautious when it comes to printing physical money. They haven’t shown any qualms however when it comes to electronic money.

This note is just like a shower in a desert, it’s not going to end the cash crisis, it will barely make a dent.

About The Author
Garikai Dzoma is the founder and editor of

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The Lingo


The ‘Old Mutual Implied Rate’ is a comparison between the Old Mutual share price on the London stock exchange / the Johannesburg stock exchange and the Zimbabwe stock exchange. Effectively RTGS is valued at 1:1 with the USD, but this difference in share price gives us the implied countries exchange rate.


Real-time gross settlement systems (RTGS) is a funds transfer system where money transfer takes place from one bank to another on a “real time” basis and “gross” basis. Settlement in the “real time” means that the transaction happens almost immediately.


The Zimbabwe Bond Note is a surrogate currency issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. This was originally issued against a loan facility from the African Export-Import Bank. The Bond Note is officially 1:1 however the market seems to have significantly discounted the value of the Bond Note.


The symbol ZAR is the currency abbreviation for the South African rand.