Zimbabwe inflation hits 2.2 million percent: bank chief

HARARE, July 16, 2008 (AFP) – Zimbabwe’s inflation rate, already the world’s highest, hit an astronomical 2.2 million percent Wednesday after Robert Mugabe’s re-election in a one-man poll critics had said the nation could ill afford. After months of silence on the inflation rate, central bank governor Gideon Gono let slip it was well into seven figures as he rejected suggestions by a leading economist that it was in reality many times higher.

“Statistics provided by the CSO (central statistical office) indicate that it is now at 2.2 (million percent),” Gono said in a brief address in Harare ahead of a speech by Mugabe, the country’s 84-year-old president.

The figure is the first from the authorities in Zimbabwe since the announcement of the rate for February, when it was put at 165,000 percent.

The head of the CSO, Moffat Nyoni, confirmed the figure but said it was only a rough barometer as it was based on limited data.

“The information was based on fewer observations than we would be confident with due to scarcities. However, with the information we have managed to obtain, this is the rate of inflation,” he told AFP.

Mugabe, who was controversially re-elected for a sixth term in office last month in a ballot