WORLD: Zimbabwe Gives Up Its Currency; Caribbean Officials Meet in HaitiJanuary 30th, 2009
Zimbabwe Gives Up Its Currency
To help citizens overcome the nation’s staggering inflation rate, Zimbabwe’s government has decided to do away with its currency and allow people to use money from other countries. The move, announced Thursday by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, comes as city workers, doctors and teachers have gone on strike demanding payment in either South African rand or U.S. dollars, reports The Associated Press. But, under this plan, civil servants will still be paid in Zimbabwean money, although their pay will be increased to be on par with inflation. In addition, they’ll receive an allowance each month in foreign money, reports the AP. The nation is also reeling from a cholera epidemic that has claimed more than 3,000 lives since last August. “This cholera is a crisis which needed not to have happened if the government is taking care of its people,” said U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee after visiting clinics in the nation. “It is a shame that this disease is killing people while government folds its hands.” McGee, along with many in the international community, has been highly critical of longtime leader Robert Mugabe. Many blame him for the nation’s economic meltdown, which has led to an estimated 80 percent of the population needing food aid. Since they started talks in September, Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have been unable to come to terms with a power-sharing agreement.
Caribbean Officials Meet in Haiti
Foreign affairs ministers from across the Caribbean are meeting in Haiti this week for a summit on tourism and the environment, reports Caribbean Net. Representatives from all of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) nations arrived at the nation Wednesday and will wrap up the summit today. In addition to finding a way to increase tourism all over the region, natural disasters and climate change was also on the agenda for the meeting. Alrich Nicholas, Haiti’s Foreign Affairs minister, hopes that the meeting will help upgrade the way Haiti is looked at worldwide. The country is one of the poorest in the world, with more than 60 percent of the population living below the poverty line. The nation also has lost more than 95 percent of its trees due to systematic deforestation.