Kenya Celebrates Independence Day, Introduces New Currency

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Kenya has introduced a series of new-generation coins as it moves to phase out the old generation currency which will bring to an end the use of Presidential images on its bills.

President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled the new coins in Nairobi on Tuesday ahead of the December 12 Jamhuri Day, celebrated every year to commemorate the date Kenya became an independent republic (December 12, 1964).

The President launched the new coins at the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) headquarters in Nairobi where they were handed over to him by the governor Patrick Njoroge.

The new coins which have features accessible to the visually impaired are in denominations 1, 5, 10 and 20 shillings. The Ksh1 coin bears the image of a giraffe, Ksh5 coin a rhino, Ksh10 coin a lion while the Ksh20 coin now has the image of an elephant.

Kenyan currencies have borne the images of Presidents since 1966 when the first local shilling was introduced with the faces of the first President-Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and his successor Daniel Arap Moi’s faces dominating.

“Our nation has come a long way in making this big change in line with our Constitution.I applaud the CBK for finally making this a reality,” President Kenyatta said.

The first Kenyan coinage was issued in 1966 by the CBK which had denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50 cents, and 1 and 2 shillings.

The country also saw the introduction of bank notes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 shillings.

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The 25 cents coins and 2 shillings were however phased out in 1969 and 1971 respectively.

In 1985, the government introduced the 5 shillings coins followed by the introduction of the 10 shillings coins in 1994. In the year 1998, the 20 shillings coin was introduced.

The country’s major notes of 200 shilling,500 shillings and 1,000 shillings were introduced in the years 1986, 1988 and 1994 respectively.

The portrait of Jomo Kenyatta appeared on all coins from 1967 to 1978 while that of former President Moi appeared between 1980-2005.

In 2005, CBK introduced a new coin series that restored the portrait of Kenyatta. His portrait was also printed on the 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings notes.

In commemoration of 40 years of independence in 2003, the CBK issued a bi- metallic 40 shilling coin with the portrait of former President Kibaki, the third President of the Kenya. New 40 shilling coins with the image of President Kenyatta were issued in 2005.

10 years later, the commemoration of 50 years of independence was marked by a 50 shilling coin that was not released for circulation but was made available for purchase.

It includes a gold coin sold at Ksh200, 000, a gold plated silver coin going for Ksh10, 000 and a gold plated brass coin sold at Ksh6, 000.

The introduction of the new coins paves way for printing of new-generation notes, ending a long tussle faced by the CBK.

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