Ethiopia Introduces Birr 200, Replaces 10, 50, 100 Currency Notes

By Staff Reporter  

New-Bank-Notes-EthiopiaSeptember 14, 2020 ( -- In a dramatic move, the government of Ethiopia has introduced the first 200 Birr note and replaced Birr 10, 50, and 100 notes with new ones.

Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia Yinager Dessie said the introduction of the new banknotes aims to fight corruption, counterfeiting, and money laundering.

The new banknotes have unique security features and designs and the new 200, 100, 50, and 10 banknotes feature peace, history, economy, and unity respectively.

The existing birr 5 note will remain unchanged for some time until it is replaced by a coin in the near future.

“The majority of our people transact in cash and so a huge amount of money circulates out of banks. The situation created a fertile ground for financing illegal activities including escalating contraband trade and corruption,” Yinager said.

The government has already spent 3.6 billion birr to change the existing currency notes by new ones. “A larger portion of the new birr notes have already been imported from abroad.” He added.

He said the government has already set up a distribution mechanism that will go into effect by concerned bodies.

As security plays a key component in the currency change process, a federal command post will be set up to oversee the distribution process with the expectation that Regional Command Posts will also be set up.

Addressing the council of ministers about the new currency notes, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Ethiopians will have a three-month window within which they will be able to exchange old currency notes for new ones from the banks after the government demonetized its currency.

The premier said the introduction of the new birr notes was necessary to prop up the economy which, like several others, has also been battered by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also expressed "grave concern" over larger banknotes being used for "illicit financial flows in Ethiopia and also other countries in the region".

“Introducing the changes in our currency notes was deemed necessary to salvage the country’s fractured economy,” Abiy added.

Local banks were instructed to immediately begin issuing new notes, which are also touted to have greater longevity than the old ones.

The new and old notes will remain in circulation for three months. Thereafter, the 10, 50, and 100 banknotes will be canceled.

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