The 13 best ways to make money in Zimbabwe

Harare Hummer: Whilst Europeans and Americans are trading their big vehicles for smaller ones to save fuel, Hararians are competing to buy the biggest cars they can.
Harare Hummer: Whilst Europeans and Americans are trading their big vehicles for smaller ones to save fuel, Hararians are competing to buy the biggest cars they can.

While the world media focusses- and rightly so- on the poverty and political strife in Zimbabwe, there are those who are making raking in the big dollars and remain seemingly unaffected by the politics of the state.

The streets of Harare show off new cars every day. Hummers, Prados, BMWs and oh yes the ever popular Mercedes Benzes.

It is said that Zimbabwe has one of the highest numbers of Mercedes Benz vehicles per capita IN THE WORLD! Dig that.

But how on earth do people make so much money in an economy that is said to be the worst in the world, in a country with the highest inflation on earth- it’s in the millions now, and in a place where the politics have been very jittery for a really long time.

Here’s how:


There are Hararians who have made hundreds of thousands of US dollars in the fuel trade. And they don’t own a single fuel tanker or garage. Simply hire a tanker from someone, buy fuel in SA, deliver in bulk. Get paid.

2. Forex

I don’t need to remind anyone that forex is in short supply in Zimbabwe. He who has it is King. Companies that want to buy foreign inputs, people who want to send their kids to colleges in other lands, travellers and investors who want to hedge against inflation. All these are hungry customers for forex. If you have enough of it you can negotiate some very good rates.

3. Zimdollars

Also in short supply- big time. It’s easier to get US dollars on the streets and in the banks of Harare now than it is to get Zimdollars. You can sell Zimdollar cash for a premium.

4. Groceries & other commodities

Cooking oil, salt, sugar, etc. If you have a way of getting these into Zimbabwe at a reasonable price your can make a good profit. Since these things are now very difficult to find in the shops, it’s easy to make a quick buck by inflating the price. Many have started whole empires based on cooking oil brought in from South Africa.

5. Mealie Meal

I know this falls under commodities but mealie meal deserves it’s own listing. In Zimbabwe it’s more than just a commodity.

6. Alternatives to ZESA

You may not be able to buy a Hummer selling firewood, but you’ll have a huge market. Frequent power cuts have made it a hot commodity in Zimbabwe. A warning here: You may get arrested for chopping trees down. Generators are also big business. As are candles. One business in Harare is reporting roaring sales from candle wax and candle making machines.

7. Hot Meals

A seemingly unlikely wealth creator BUT it’s difficult to get a good meal in a Zimbabwean restaurant or fast food outlet these days. Travellers, business people and suddenly rich forex traders cram into the few available places that sell good food. A sadza place at Avondale is a good example.

8. Property

Rentals in Zimbabwe have shot up over the last few years. Those with multiple properties are raking it in- in US dollars. Diasporeans have also been buying houses, flats and land with their hard earned US dollars and pounds. The demand for homes is huge.

9. Vehicles

One car dealer who sells brand new cars says that he has so many orders that he has customers on a four month waiting list.

10. Keep your coins & old currency

Who knows, the Governor may just bring them back into circulation.

11.  The Stock Market

The Zimbabwe Stock Market has to be the only one in the world where stocks will almost always shoot up in real dollar terms despite the performance of companies. A friend of mine woke up one morning and found that he could suddenly afford a house after a rally on the stock exchange pushed his net wealth up to new realms.

12. Know the right people

Need I say more. If your dad is a big dhara, all of asudden you have so many doors open for you.

13. Leave the country

Yes, I have to admit that some of the Hummers and Dodge trucks on our roads are from Zimbabweans who have made their money outside the country. Leaving the country is an all time favourite to increase your relative wealth. The Pound is powerful and being a Zimbabwean you know what I mean…

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