Ethiopia Changes Currency Notes, Unveils New 200 Birr

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has introduced on Monday a new 200 birr note and unveiled new Birr notes for 10, 50 and 100 denominations with enhanced security features and other distinctive elements.

The Birr 5 note remains unchanged but will be turned into coin format soon, according to government officials.

Authorities say the currency change is aimed at gathering currency circulating informally and outside of financial institutions and support financial institutions to confront currency shortage.

The new move “will also curb financing of illegal activities, corruption and contraband,” prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said, adding that the enhanced security features on the new notes will also cease counterfeit production.

Most of the print work is currently in the National Bank of Ethiopia or NBE vault.

Distribution mechanism and planning having been developed and will go in effect through concerned bodies, the office of the prime minister said.

“Security plays a key component in the currency change process and relevant authorities together with members of the community will enforce secure implementation,” it added.

A Federal command post that includes National Defense, NISS and Federal Police will be set up to oversee this process with the expectation that Regional Command Posts will also be set up, according to the office.

“While Ethiopia has never had a symbol to represent its currency, a new symbol has been designed and will be soon unveiled to symbolize the Birr,” Abiy’s office said.