Zimbabwe - Services

The central bank, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), acts as banker to the government, issues currency and government loans, controls foreign reserves, serves as lender of last resort to commercial banks, and handles revenue from gold exports. The RBZ is also responsible for banking sector supervision, although it lacks the necessary legislative framework and statutory power to monitor banks adequately. The Ministry of Finance is responsible for issuing banking licenses.

Zimbabwe has a growing tourism industry, and hunting safaris in particular have expanded in recent years. The government favors upmarket tourism, especially ecotourism and safari holidays. There are a number of world-class hotels in the country, including the historic Victoria Falls Hotel. The total number of visitors has grown at an annual rate of 20 percent since 1990 when there were about 635,000, to over 2 million visitors in 1998. Tourism generated an estimated US$125 million in 1998, making it the third-largest foreign exchange earner after tobacco and gold. But the continuing political unrest and violence has hurt the tourism industry, with the number of overseas visitors plunging 35 percent during the first 6 months of 2000 compared to the same period in 1999.

The distribution sector features a large number of South African retail chains. As a result of import substitution policies, these companies rely on domestic suppliers of processed food, clothing, furniture, and light consumer goods .

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