Ethiopia Begins Circulation of New Currency

some ethiopian birr banknotes illustrating growing economy and investment

By VOA News

Ethiopia has begun circulating new currency notes to combat monetary crimes.  

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced Monday the release of the birr in denominations of 10, 50 and 100. 

The East African country also introduced its first 200 birr note. 

Ahmed hopes the new currency will also boost the inflation riddled economy impacted partly by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ethiopians have three months to exchange old notes with the new ones. 

Authorities believe the new design and security features on the new birr note will prevent counterfeiting.  

Banks had urged the government to demonetize, citing money circulating outside the banking system has worsened the liquidity problems banks are facing.  

Ethiopia last changed its currency two decades ago at the end of the Ethiopian-Eritrean civil war.