Paper Money

Kenya releases new series of bank notes

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya introduced a new five-note currency series on June 1. The rollout occurred at a Madaraka Day celebration, the anniversary of independence from Great Britain in 1963.

The notes are the first to be issued in compliance with Kenya’s 2010 constitution that prohibits notes and coins from bearing the portrait of any individual.

Instead, the faces of the 50-, 100-, 200-, 500- and 1,000 shilling notes all have an image of the Kenyatta International Conference Center, considered one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks in the country. One of the “Big Five” of the animal kingdom is depicted in the final zero of the denomination. In ascending order, they are a buffalo (nyati), leopard (chui), rhino (kifaru), lion (simba), and elephant (ndovu).


1904 Louisiana Purchase Expo medalInside Coin World: 1904 Louisiana Purchase Expo bronze medal: Columns exclusive to the June 24 issue focus on a $25 coin shop purchase and an affordable 20th century wartime overdate variety.


Each back is devoted to a specific theme related to Kenya today. The red 50-shilling note has a “green energy” theme highlighting wind power, geothermal power, and solar power. Agriculture, represented by corn, teas, and livestock is on the purple 100-shilling issue. The blue 200-shilling note focuses on social services as represented by medical services, education, and Kenya’s world-renowned running athletes. Simba, the lion, dominates the green 500-shilling note, which is dedicated to tourism, as represented by beaches, parks and the Masai Mara National Game Reserve. Governance, personified by the Parliament building, is on the brown 1,000-shilling note.

Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge said that the old 1,000-shilling bank note was being withdrawn immediately. His reason was that large denominations are increasingly being used for illicit transactions, and also that some counterfeits have begun appearing in commerce.

The new Kenyan notes are now in circulation.

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