The bank traces its history to the Bank of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, founded in March 1956, which in turn was the successor to the Central Currency Board.
The Reserve Bank has continued to function, and has grown in operations and staff, through a variety of changes in sovereignty and governmental structure in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe. The building in which it currently operates was officially opened by President Robert Mugabe on May 31, 1996.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act provides for a Board of Directors and a Governor. The Governor, assisted by three deputy governors, is responsible for the day-to-day administration and operations of the bank. The current Governor is Gideon Gono.
The Governor and his three deputies are appointed by the president for five-year terms that may be renewed. The Governor also serves as chairman of the board. The board's membership includes the three deputies and a maximum of seven other non-executive directors, intended to represent key sectors of the economy.
The Reserve Bank's most important role is to create and enact monetary policies. According to the bank's website, as the only producer of Zimbabwe's bank notes and coins, it regulates the amount of money in circulation. However since a range of foreign currencies is currently in use for domestic transactions, the bank's ability to control money supply is limited. The Reserve Bank also looks after the country's gold and other assets, and serves as an advisor to the government and provides the government with daily banking services.
Due to the unstable economic conditions and failure to control inflation (2008), economists have suggested that the Reserve Bank be abolished. Some economists have suggested that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe be reformed. Legislation in 2008 was debated in the lower house of the Zimbabwean parliament with a view to limiting the so-called quasi-fiscal activities of the Reserve Bank.
See also 
- Banknotes of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
- Central banks and currencies of Africa
- Economy of Zimbabwe
- Payment system
- Real-time gross settlement
- "AFI members". AFI Global. 2011-10-10. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
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