What is the Currency of South Sudan?

By Andrew Mwaniki on September 6 2017 in Economics

The South Sudanese pound,

South Sudan is a country found in the northeastern region of Africa. It is a landlocked country that borders Sudan to the north, Ethiopia to the East, Kenya, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo to the south and the Central African Republic to the west. South Sudan’s capital is Juba, which is also the largest city. The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after a period of civil war. The official language of South Sudan is English along with other recognized national languages such as Dinker, Nuer, Luo, Bari, and Zande. The official currency of South Sudan is the South Sudanese Pound. It is divided into 100 units called piasters and was approved during the July 2011 secession upon approval by the legislative assembly of South Sudan.

History of the South Sudanese Pound

The new currency was introduced following the secession from Sudan on July 18, 2011. The South Sudanese pound note features the image of John Garang, who was the leader of the rebel movement from the south. The banknotes include 6 different denominations in the form of pounds and another 5 denominations in the form of piasters. The highest banknote is 100 pounds, while the least is that of 1 pound. Other notes include 5, 10, 25 and 50 pounds banknotes. The issued coins include 5, 10, 25, 50 and 1 piasters. Later, in October 2011, some of the piaster coins were replaced with banknotes of 25, 10 and 5 piasters. The 25 South Sudanese pound note was replaced by the 20-pound note in 2016 and issued by the Bank of South Sudan. The 1 Pound banknote has since been replaced by 1 Pound coin as part of reducing the confusion in currency and to ease transactions. Alternatively, banknote redesigns have also been implemented on 10, 20 and 100-pound notes. There have been recent claims that the Bank of South Sudan plans on introducing new denominations notes of 200, 500 and 1,000 South Sudanese pounds. However, this is not the case as confirmed by the governor of the Bank of South Sudan.

Banknotes and Coins

The introduction of the new piaster notes was to facilitate ease of transaction by introducing low-value notes for purchasing smaller items that cost less than 1 pound. This introduction was welcome among the South Sudanese people according to various reports. With the introduction of the new low-value piaster notes, the 50-piaster denomination note was dropped in preference to the coin currency. The piaster notes were printed by the South African firm, De la Rue.

These notes are differentiated from the pound notes in that the portrait is placed on the right side of the note instead of the left side. The piaster notes maintain the same signature as found in the higher denomination pound notes. Another different element of the piaster notes is that they do not have a windowed security thread.

The coins were introduced during Independence Day and circulation began on 9 July 2015 as the country marked its fourth Independence Day. The coin consists of an engraved image of the first president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir. The coins are in denominations of 5, 20 and 50 piasters.

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