BUSINESS

Zimbabwe Has Just $217 In The Bank, Finance Minister Says

01/29/2013 06:14 pm ET | Updated Jan 30, 2013

There's a lot you can buy with $200 if you're one person. There's not whole lot you can do with it if you're one nation, however.

Zimbabwe has just $217 in the bank after paying civil servants last week, Agence France Presse reports. While the amount is a stunningly low balance for an entire nation, it was somewhat expected.

The African nation has been struggling to recover from hyperinflation that stretches back a decade. In the past few years, flagging diamond exports as well as salary hikes have compounded the nation’s financial woes, according to the Globe and Mail.

The country finds itself in particularly dire straits now as it appears to be short on funding for its upcoming national elections. Zimbabwe is aiming to double exports of diamonds this year but that likely won’t be enough to bail itself out.

"We will be approaching the international community [for financial assistance]," Finance Minister Tendai Biti told the AFP.

Even if the elections are ultimately funded, many fear violence will stand in the way of meaningful change, The Guardian reports.

The idea of a country going broke, of course, isn’t so novel as France, Spain and Greece remain perilously close to bankruptcy due to the Eurozone crisis. Iceland declared bankruptcy in 2008 due to the 2007 credit crisis, while Argentina did so in 2002 after the collapse of its national currency.

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