Ouguiya is the new Mauritanian currency denomination which was introduced on Monday. 10 ouguiyas was equated to an ouguiya on 1st January 2018. The official announcement about this change was made on 28th November. The new denomination is introduced to protect the purchasing power of the citizen and reduce circulating currency.
The old currency notes and coins will be withdrawn starting with the 5,000 banknotes by 31st January. The 2,000 notes will be withdrawn in February, 1,000 notes will be withdrawn in March while the smallest denomination will be withdrawn by June.
Software, checkbooks, ATMs etc have been upgraded to accommodate the new ouguiya. Officials claim that the new notes belong to a safer, more durable and more innovative series. Officials had dismissed rumours of "devaluation" of the ouguiya in December.
The ouguiya lost its value on the black market against the euro and the dollar due to the increasing demand for foreign currency. In 2004, Mauritania replaced all banknotes that were released in 1974.