Cost of special papers stops priniting of passports in Zimbabwe

Published: Monday 15 January 2007

-- Economic Crisis Zimbabwe

PASSPORTS are no longer available in Zimbabwe. The office of the country's registrar-general has stopped producing them because the cost of importing the special paper required has become unaffordable. The country's economic meltdown in recent years has seen more than 3 million of its about 12 million people seeking employment opportunities in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the uk, the us and Canada.

Officials at the registrar-general's office in the capital, Harare, say they have been instructed to issue only emergency travel documents (etds), which are valid for six months. "Any foreign-based Zimbabweans using etds can always renew them at the nearest Zimbabwean Embassy." Analysts estimate that Zimbabwe's industrial sector has contracted by a third since 2000, while the farming sector, previously one of the country's main foreign currency earners, has shrunk by 65 per cent during the same period, forcing tens of thousands to start cross-border trading businesses.

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