>> The flow of the customers right now it has gone down.>> To electronics shop owner Justine Mulauzi, the reality of Zimbabwe's cashless economy is dwindling customer numbers. That's why he, like many others, is hoping one of the first things to be tackled after Zimbabwe's election on Monday is a critical shortage of dollars.
>> Let's say for TVs, it would be difficult for us to sell this big TVs because people, they don't have money. We are now waiting into elections. So people are just avoiding with their money.>> Rampant hyperinflation forced Zimbabwe to abandon its currency in favor of the US dollar in 2009.
But a widening trade deficit and a lack of foreign investment under Robert Mugabe then lead to a currency shortage. The amount of physical cash in the banks fell from a high of just over $407 million in 2012 to just under 58 million at the end of 2017. And there's no sign yet of improvement since Magawbie was ousted.
Dollar holdings were down another million by the end of March. At Malaodie's shop, the few customer's he has generally buy small devices using a mobile electronic system called EcoCash. For many, such money transfer systems are the reason they can still pay bills and buy groceries. But there's also a problem, Zimbabwe has now in effect three parallel currencies.
The rare cash dollars, bond notes, and electronic transfers. But they're all denominated in the US currency, they trade at different rates. If you want to get a $100 from one of Harare's cash merchant, it would cost you $140 in bond notes or 175 by electronic money transfer. After assuming power last year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa warned his Zanu PF party that they needed to fix the economy if they wanted to win at the ballot box.
On Monday, voters will decide whether to punish him for the ongoing lack of cash.