Empty shelves prompt Zimbabwean government to temporarily lift import ban

On October 23rd, The Zimbabwean government removed a ban on the importation of basic commodities. The products affected include bottled water‚ cereals and cooking oil. This decision comes in the wake of shortages that had led to panic buying and seen businesses ranging from fast food chain KFC to clothing retailer Edgars temporarily shut their doors.

This lifting of the ban, which had been implemented due to a chronic shortage of foreign currency, will come as a relief to two international grocery retail chains, PicknPay and Choppies, that have substantial operations in Zimbabwe. The former has a 49% interest in 57 supermarkets in the country (TM Supermarkets), while the latter has 33 (the ownership of which is currently under dispute – see our previous story). However, the government maintains that the lifting of the ban is a temporary measure.

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