Banknote Production

Uganda Issues New Banknote Series

The new Ugandan banknotes enter circulation on May 17.

For the first time in over 20 years, the Bank of Uganda (BOU) will issue a new series of banknotes.

Common security features can be found on the new series such as a watermark, a colour change image and a raised effect on the surface. The notes also feature a windowed thread that changes from red to green when the note is tilted and a hidden shiny stripe pattern.

Uganda is also the first African country to introduce a high-tech security feature called SPARK, an optical security feature for banknotes.

Banknote reform in Uganda has been the cause of some controversy over the past few decades. BOU chief Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile said new banknotes were typically issued for political reasons, usually after a change in government.

“This is the first time that the BOU has introduced new notes on its own,” he explained.

The revamp was done this time around in order to comply with international practices and to introduce more security features in a continuous attempt to thwart counterfeiting.

The bank hired professional artists for the redesign, who drew up banknotes depicting pots and ornaments common in Ugandan homes.

While most of the notes are in the familiar denominations of sh50,000, sh20,000, sh10,000, sh5,000 and sh1,000, the bank also introduced a lower sh2,000 note to ease transactions “among ordinary people” according the Ugandan Finance Minister Syda Bbumba.

The new notes will enter into circulation on May 17 alongside the old series, which will be phased out over a period of a year-and-a-half.

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