G&D halts banknote exports to Zimbabwe

G&D halts banknote exports to Zimbabwe

Munich-based Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) has stopped supplying banknote paper to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe following pressure from the German government for it to cease business with Robert Mugabe's regime.

The move follows the widely-condemned run-off presidential election, which saw Mugabe returned to office after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the poll amid widespread violence.

Last week Germany's development minister, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, publicly called on G&D to stop dealing with the Mugabe regime after human rights activists protested outside the vendor's headquarters.

Zimbabwe is in economic meltdown, with inflation estimated to be at least two million per cent. The hyperinflation has required the central bank to print and issue increasingly higher denominations of cash. According to media reports G&D had supplied around half of the country's currency and had been airlifting tons of blank notes to the Zimbabwean capital Harare.

In today's statement G&D says it will immediately stop delivering paper used to print money after the government request and calls for international sanctions from the European Union and United Nation.

The vendor says it is subject to strict rules defined by the World Bank in delivering banknotes and paper and "continues to rely on the political and moral assessment provided by international trade regulators".

"Our decision is a reaction to the political tension in Zimbabwe, which is mounting significantly rather than easing as expected, and takes account of the critical evaluation by the international community, German government and general public," says Karsten Ottenberg, chairman of the management board and CEO, G&D.

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Matt White

Matt White