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'We are trapped': Zimbabwe's economic crunch hits passports


Added 06-15-19 06:03:02am EST - “With Zimbabwe's economy in shambles and political tensions rising, leaving the country seems the best option for many who are desperate for jobs. But those dreams often end at the passport office, which doesn't have enough foreign…” - Washingtontimes.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Washingtontimes.com: “‘We are trapped’: Zimbabwe’s economic crunch hits passports”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - With Zimbabwe’s economy in shambles and political tensions rising, leaving the country seems the best option for many who are desperate for jobs. But those dreams often end at the passport office, which doesn’t have enough foreign currency to import proper paper and ink.

A passport now takes no less than a year to be issued. An emergency passport can take months amid a backlog of 280,000 applications, never mind recent ones.

Zimbabweans at the main office in the capital, Harare, have taken to sleeping in line for any chance at being served the following day - and that’s just to submit an application.

Several million Zimbabweans already left for neighboring South Africa and other countries during years of economic turmoil under former leader Robert Mugabe. The hardships have only deepened under current President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over after Mugabe’s forced resignation in late 2017.

Unemployment is rampant and inflation is at 75%, the highest since 2009, when Zimbabwe’s currency collapsed under the weight of hyperinflation. Rapid devaluation of the local currency against the U.S. dollar - also used as official currency - has seen basic items such as cooking oil changing prices several times a day. The health sector is collapsing, forcing those who can afford it to seek treatment abroad.

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