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Kenya Unveils New Currency

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has unveiled Kenya’s new generation coins that will start circulating this Tuesday, Kenyan media reports.

The new currency, which was gazetted on Tuesday, contains features that make it accessible to visually impaired people.

The new generation coins, whose unveiling was presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta in the capital Nairobi, will be available in denominations of Sh1, Sh5, Sh10 and Sh20.

Mr Kenyatta, who was making his first visit to CBK since taking office in 2013, received a symbolic cheque of dividends on behalf of the government.

The new-generation Sh1 and Sh5 coins. PHOTO | COURTESY

“Last time I entered CBK doors was in 1984 when I came to look for some foreign exchange to go to school and I was told to go upstairs to see some secretary, I don’t know whether those things still exist or you are doing this in a different manner,” he said.

Unlike the old-generation coins that had portraits of former presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi, the new legal tender features Kenya’s rich wildlife heritage, as follows:

  • Sh1: Bears the image of a giraffe
  • Sh5: Bears the image of a rhino
  • Sh10: Bears the image of a lion
  • Sh20: Bears the image of an elephant.

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge said the coins bear significant aspect of the country and will serve as a means of passing knowledge, conserving culture, and promoting Kenya’s global uniqueness.

“CBK invited the public to provide their views on the elements that they desired on the coins. Having considered all submissions, CBK considered the most appropriate elements including the designs that best meet CBK’s technical requirements, serve the public aspirations and capture the spirit of the constitution,” he said during the launch.

Dr Njoroge said that the market regulator will in the coming days rollout a campaign to create awareness, educating the public on the new coinage.

The Sh1 coins weighs 5.5g and are silver in colour while the Sh5 coin weighs 3.75g with a diameter of 19.5mm.

The Sh10 coin weighs five grammes, is 23mm in diameter with a yellow outer and silver inner.

The new Sh20 coin weighs nine grammes with a diameter of 26mm. It is silver on the outer side and yellow inside.

The unveiling of the new currency is in line with provisions of the 2010 Constitution that banned the use of presidential portraits on Kenyan currency.

The phase-out of the old-generation coins, CBK said, will be gradual, with the new currency coins will circulate alongside the existing ones.


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