Author Topic: Ethiopia Introduces New Banknotes  (Read 66 times)

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Offline Bimat

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Ethiopia Introduces New Banknotes
« on: October 19, 2020, 04:03:09 PM »
Ethiopia Introduces New Bank Notes in Fight Against Corruption

21 SEPTEMBER 2020

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

As Ethiopians welcome a new year, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced the release of new birr notes in efforts to fight financial crimes.

New notes of denominations 10, 50 and 100 were released Monday alongside the first-time introduction of the 200 Birr note.

According to the premier, Ethiopia is withdrawing the old notes to crack down on "corruption, embezzlement and contraband", and thereby further stimulate the economy hard-hit by factors including the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Introducing the changes in our currency notes was deemed necessary to salvage the country's fractured economy," PM Abiy told the country's high profile political, financial and security officials in a meeting on Monday.

The new notes will circulate immediately while the old ones will be phased out within three months.

Ethiopians must therefore exchange the old notes with the new ones at all banks across the country.

Corruption cartels

A source from the National Bank of Ethiopia, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Nation that the designs and security features of the new notes will make production of counterfeits impossible.

The source added that the government's move to demonetise the currency will enhance attempts to exchange large amounts of illegal notes held by former political leaders and businessmen.

The source said corrupt cartels are believed to have "illegally obtained over 110 billion om birr notes outside the banking system".

Ethiopia earlier said any company or individual can keep only up to 1.5 million birr ($41,000) in cash and that withdrawals from banks should also not exceed 100,000 birr ($2,737).

PM Abiy, who assumed power in April 2018, said about 3.7 billion birr ($101.2 million) was used to print the new currency and that his government took several steps "to salvage the fractured economy".

"We inherited a situation where the country had not enough money to make payments for civil servants," he said.

Source: All Africa
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Ethiopia Introduces New Banknotes
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2020, 04:04:16 PM »
New currency notes gets 1 million Ethiopians into banking system

By Bloomberg

Ethiopia’s effort to stamp out counterfeiting by introducing new currency notes is pulling people who’ve never had a bank account into the financial system.

Over the past four weeks, almost 1 million previously unbanked Ethiopians have handed in their two-decade-old banknotes, according to the central bank. In exchange, they were given a bank account from which they can draw the new notes. The regulator is trying to deter cash hoarding that enables corruption and illegal trading to thrive, and escapes the tax net.

The rush of applications forced the nation’s biggest commercial lender to assign more tellers to only handle money changing at its main branch next to its headquarters in the capital, Addis Ababa. The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia branch gained at least 1,000 customers in the past month, while many others deposited cash in accounts that had been dormant.

“On the first day of the new currency notes, you wouldn’t believe what happened here -- everybody came,” said Nebyou Birhanu, who heads digital services at CBE. “The money is coming into the bank.”

Only 35% of Ethiopian adults held a bank account in 2017, lagging peers such as neighboring Kenya, where the ratio is 82%, according to the World Bank.

The Horn of Africa nation of 100 million people is following a process that flopped in India. There steps in 2016 to ban high-denomination currency notes to try weed out cash gained through illegal means backfired as economic growth slowed and millions of daily wage earners lost their livelihoods.

While Kenya’s demonetization process that started last year went smoothly, the equivalent of about $68 million was not returned, according to the central bank. South Sudan is also contemplating demonetization to curb illicit financial flows.

For Ethiopia, the initiative has added 31 billion birr ($830 million) to the 990 billion birr of deposits that were in the country’s 19 banks at the end of March. The central bank estimates there was 92 billion birr of unbanked cash in Ethiopia in July 2019.

“We expect more people, in the rural and urban areas, to open bank accounts,” National Bank of Ethiopia Governor Yinager Dessie told state television last week.

The central bank is preparing to allow non-financial institutions to offer mobile-money services, opening up banking to local phone companies.

Ethiopia Allows Telecoms Firms to Provide Mobile-Money Service

To ward off that threat, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia updated its banking app to allow customers to get credit, pay utility bills and transfer cash more easily, said Nebyou.

Dawit Belay, a 36-year-old car importer, said he supported the drive. He spoke as he withdrew cash at United Bank SC’s Gandhi Branch in central Addis Ababa, where tellers were tending to the steady flow of customers.

“About the new currency, I feel like it’s very safe,” he said. “It’s good for the whole community, as everything comes inside the system. We’re not going to use as much cash anymore.”

Source: IOL
It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. Rowling.