HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwe's president has formalized a law allowing the introduction of a new currency this month.

The new bond notes, backed by a $200 million Afreximbank bond facility, will be regarded as legal tender for all local transactions.

This southern African nation abandoned its own currency in 2009 after inflation hit 231 million per cent, according to government figures. It has been using a multi-currency system dominated by the U.S. dollar since then.

Severe cash shortages that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe attributes to low exports have hit this once-prosperous country in recent months.

The bank says the bond notes to be introduced on an unspecified date this month will trade at par with the U.S. dollar.