File photo: Paul Sakuma/AP

Cape Town - As the financial crisis in Zimbabwe deepens, KFC Africa has taken the decision to temporarily shut its restaurants in the country. 

According to the company, the fast food outlets "are unable to continue to trade due to the current pressure on the country’s economy. The currency challenges have affected our operations and supply and we are exploring various ways to reopen our restaurants soon".

"We generate new employment opportunities as we grow and with every new restaurant opening.  Our supply chain is heavily dependent on local suppliers and we are passionate about ensuring that these and all other partnerships are sustainable," the company said.

In recent days a number of stores have been forced to close their doors after essentials such as medicine and water start running out. Long queues for petrol, bread and other essentials have once again become a familiar sight on the streets of most Zimbabwe cities.

A woman passes a ‘no petrol’ sign at a garage in Harare, Zimbabwe, this week. Picture: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

President Emerson Mnangagwa's government has introduced a stabilisation programme, which is meant to help the economy recover after years of hardship while Robert Mugabe was in power, but is instead piling even more pressure on already cash-strapped citizens. Earlier this month the government announced that it would de-dollarize, a move that appears to have hastened the onset of the current crisis. 

The bond notes that started circulating in Zimbabwe in 2016. Picture: Xinhua
A notice is displayed on a fridge showing rationed items as a man shops in Harare. Picture: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP