Don’t Expect ZIG to be a Currency Code


I just read that the government is trying to give ZiG an ISO currency code. As cool as it would be, I doubt ZIG can be a currency code. By this I specifically mean using the characters ZIG to represent the ZiG.

ISO currency codes are based off of ISO 4217 where the codes are three characters long. Those characters are made up of a country’s 2 digit code (specifically a ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code) along with some other character. USD for US Dollar, GBP for Great (haha) British Pound ZAR for South African Rand and so on. The last letter can be whatever—the first letter of the currency, something you change when you revalue the currency (like we’ve a few times) or whatever else you may need to do, like boring accounting/banking shit [DOC 47KB].

If it’s not for a specific country then it starts with X. One use are supranational regions with many countries, like the CFA used in West Africa is XAF, XOF in Central Africa and so on. The exception would be euro as the European Union has its own country code EU hence it gets EUR.

X is also used for things that aren’t currencies like minerals (XAU for gold), currency baskets like the IMF’s special drawing rights (XDR) and maybe crypto-currencies in the future. Bitcoin would be XBT instead of BTC since BT is Bhutan and Ethereum would be XET since ET is Ethiopia.

Given this, ZiG might end up being with the less cool currency code ZWG for Zimbabwe Gold—we’ve already used ZWD, ZWN, ZWR and ZWL. The only way we might get ZIG is if we change our country codes from ZW and ZWE which would be a bad idea but if they really believe in it I’d love to see it.

Other possible currency codes choices are:

  • XZG since Zimbabwe Gold is supposed to get its value from a basket of minerals. Not exactly up to spec but it is an option.
  • ZWI since it used to be Zimbabwe Investment Gold so Zimbabwe Investment?
  • ZWV for the Zimbabwean vene, the people who are supposedly supposed to build their own country.
  • ZWP where P is for Phee, an attempt to rally the masses behind the new currency.
  • ZWM where M is for Mthuli or Mushayavanhu, the national treasurer and central bank governor who are trying to make this money work.
  • ZWE where E is for the first name of our lovely president, Emerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. Also our 3 digit ISO country code funny enough.
  • ZWC where C is for confusion since I doubt anyone knows what the fuck is going on.

Long story short, don’t be surprised if the currency code doesn’t turn out to be ZIG—it’s how the ISO specification works. The letters ZiG will still be used to represent our new money as it’s the symbol much like how $, €, £, ₩ and whatever are.


Two more things.

Why Give A Shit About Any Of This?

You don’t need to unless you deal with this stuff for a living as a programmer, finance regulator or something like that. I guess you can also care if you want to lend legitimacy to this currency or fuel the hot take industrial complex around whatever the government does.

Plz Don’t @ Me

This is ultimately my opinion but I think it’s pretty accurate with some caveats. I got the information from Wikipedia instead of the ISO specification because I’m poor. If you want to buy it for me, email me at mailto:[email protected].

Actually, it’s free.