Burundi Cracks Down on Currency-Changers Amid Dollar Shortage

BURUNDI, Capital Markets in Africa: Burundi’s police said they closed 15 foreign-exchange offices and arrested 12 money-changers as the East African country, struck by more than a year of unrest, struggles with a dollar shortage.

The actions were taken against speculators who committed “economic crime” by not complying with the official exchange rate, police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said Tuesday on his Twitter account.

An inadequate supply of dollars from Burundi’s central bank has forced companies into the black market, where the cost of greenbacks has surged. The central bank this year ordered banks, non-government organizations and embassies to open accounts with it to regulate foreign-exchange supplies. The landlocked, coffee-exporting nation has a gross domestic product of about $3.1 billion. It has been rocked by violence that’s killed more than 470 people since April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to stand for re-election, a move his opponents said was unconstitutional.

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