Monetary History of Ghana

15 Jul 2020  Wed

The Ghanaian Cedi is the unit currency of Ghana. After Ghana’s independence from the British, they demonetized British West African pound currency. The independent Republic of Ghana introduced Ghanaian pounds between 1958 and 1965. In 1965, they discarded the British colonial monetary system such as Ghanaian pounds, shillings, and pence and adopted the decimal system and named it as Chedi. One cedi is divided into one hundred pesewas (Gp).

The word cedi comes from the Akan language which meant cowry shell. Interestingly, cowry is not native to West African waters but is a common species in the Indian Ocean.

The cedi bore the portrait of President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and was equivalent to eight shillings and fourpence. After the military coup of 1966, the face of the president was removed, and worth of new Cedi turn into 1.2 cedi which was equal to half of a pound sterling.

Due to the high inflation in 2007, 20,000 cedi was the largest denomination and its value was equivalent to 2 dollars in the USA. The ratio of the exchange rate was 1: 10,000.

Here, we have a specimen of 10 cedis from the 1965-67 series of banknotes. It depicts a portrait of Kwame Nkrumah and Independence Arch. Independence Arch monument was built in memory of independence struggle and liberation.

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