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Central Bank Outlaws Transactions with Old Notes

November 21 , 2020

The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has outlawed business transactions using the old banknotes as of December 1, 2020, two weeks ahead of the final currency changeover deadline. The entire demonetisation process, which cost the government 3.7 billion Br to print the notes, is expected to be finalised on December 15, 2020. Launched in mid-September, the three-month demonetisation process also introduced a new 200 Br denomination and changed the colour and the security features of the 100 Br, 50 Br and 10 Br notes. The five Birr note will stay in circulation until it is changed into a coin. The wide circulation of banknotes outside of banks and the country, as well as problems with contraband and illegal activities, were all instigators of the currency change, according to government officials. In March the Ethiopian Bankers Association reported that 113 billion Br is circulating outside the banking system, contributing to the financial industry's liquidity crisis. The 200 Br denomination is purple, while the 100 Br and the 50 Br denominations are light blue and orange, respectively. The colour of the 10 Br note has also been changed to green. First introduced in 1915 during the regime of Emperor Menelik II, Ethiopia has so far changed bank notes five times, including this recent change.


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