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Kenya rolls out a new generation of banknotes

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President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday, 1 June 2019, presided over the launch of new generation banknotes for all denominations.

Kenyatta presided over the rollout of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings notes that have been issued in accordance with the 2010 constitution.

Central Bank Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge who took the President through the profile of the new notes said the CBK was guided by the constitution in choosing the features and elements depicted on the banknotes as well as input from Kenyans through an elaborate public participation programme.

“The Central Bank of Kenya has now completed the process of producing the New Generation banknotes, in accordance with the Constitution and all applicable laws. I confirm that the New Generation banknotes were issued yesterday, 31 May 2019, by a Gazette Notice. They are now legal tender,” Dr Njoroge said.

The Governor announced that the old 1 000 shillings banknote will be withdrawn by 1 October 2019 to deal with illicit financial activities including reported cases of currency counterfeiting.

“We have assessed the grave concern that our large banknotes—particularly the older one thousand shillings series—are being used for illicit financial flows in Kenya and also other countries in the region,” the Governor said.

He said the issues concerning the 1 000 shillings note raised grave concerns that would jeopardize proper transactions and the conduct of commerce in Kenyan currency.

“By a Gazette Notice dated 31 May 2019, all persons have until 1 October 2019, to exchange those notes, after which the older one thousand shillings banknotes will cease to be legal tender. More details about this will be provided,” the Governor said.

All the other new banknotes except the 1 000 will circulate alongside those previously issued but not withdrawn.

The launch of the new notes was conducted immediately after President Kenyatta read his speech to the nation during celebrations to mark the fifty-sixth Madaraka Day marking when Kenya gained her internal rule in 1963 from Britain.

“The launch of the new generation banknotes at the Madaraka Day celebrations underscores that the history of the Central Bank is intertwined with the history of our country,” Dr Njoroge noted.

The new banknotes bear significant aspects of the Kenyan nation and will serve as a means of passing knowledge, conserving culture and promoting the country’s global uniqueness, the CBK boss said.

All banknotes bear the image of the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, one of the most iconic and recognisable landmarks in Kenya.

Each banknote has a unique theme to showcase the richness of the people and nature in Kenya.

The new banknotes bear features that make them more accessible to the visually impaired members of the society.

Governor Njoroge said that in the coming days, CBK will roll out an awareness campaign to educate the public on the features of the new banknotes.


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