98 Percent Of Bank Notes In Somalia Are Counterfeit But That Is About To Change

For the first time in a more than a quarter century, Somalia will get new bank notes. With the help of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the country will print official bank notes in an effort to combat counterfeits.

The IMF says up to 98 percent of local bank notes in the Horn of Africa nation are counterfeit with the remaining 2 percent printed in 1990-91 still circulating but, tattered.

The IMF adds printing of the new notes will initially be in small denominations which stopped circulating after civil war broke out 26 years ago.

In the absence of trustworthy national currency, US dollars have become primary bank notes in circulation. According to the Central Bank of Somalia, most medium and large-scale transactions are undertaken in US dollars.

The Bank’s governor Bashir Issa Ali says the government needs to raise $60 million to fund the printing program and expects much of it to come from a donors’ conference slated for May in London.

But the printing program is not without some challenges. Among them, is how the new currency will affect imports and exports. Of particular interest will be the remittance economy, where Somalia receives as much as $2.3 billion a year thanks to Somalis living abroad.

A herculean task for the new president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who in addition to turning around a country recovering from decades of conflict, faces the threat of the al -Shabaab insurgency that remains ever so real. Click here to read more.