The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's (RBZ) promise of letters of credit (L/Cs) worth US$10 million to import grain from various African countries appears not to have helped sufficiently with the government's efforts to provide hard currency to avert severe grain shortages.

With the country now in coronavirus lockdown, the government and trade organisations are looking for more ways to generate much-needed foreign currency for mielie-meal, the course maize flour that is a southern African staple.


Zimbabwe on Monday extended the coronavirus lockdown imposed on 20 March by two weeks but is allowing mining operations to recommence. Zimbabwe heavily relies on mineral exports to generate foreign currency.

Meanwhile the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) says it is approaching Zimbabweans in the diaspora and not-for-profit organisations operating in the country for some crowdfunding to raise foreign currency for maize imports.

Heading off starvation

RBZ governor, Dr John Mangudya had told Zimbabwe's Business Times that the central bank has since last August been and will continue to issue L/Cs to head off starvation.

The governor said the central bank is issuing L/Cs processed through local banks and guaranteed by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), to ensure imports of the grain so that the population has enough food.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.