In Goma, the dollar rate in March was 90,000 New Zaires
(NZ), against NZ 75,000 in the upper Zaire mining areas (where there is an influx of dollars to purchase gold from wildcat diggers) and over NZ 170,000 in Kinshasa.
Residents of Kasai -- the main diamond-producing area and home to Etienne Tshisekedi, the leading opposition figure -- still refuse to use "new zaire
" notes, first issued in 1993, as a symbol of their continued opposition to Mobutu.
But the main problem since the introduction of the new zaire
(NZ) - at a rate of one new zaire
for 3m old zaires - was a spectacular rise in the inflation rate, which is variously assessed at between 200% and 300% (many banking sources contend that it is even higher).