The International Monetary Fund has signified interest to help replace Somalia’s tattered currency notes.
The country’s notes were printed before the Horn of Africa nation plunged into civil war almost three decades ago.
The new Somali shilling notes may come into circulation this year, alongside the dollar that’s been the main means of payment, and will replace fake or old currency in circulation, said Samba Thiam, the IMF’s country head.
“About 98 percent of the currency circulating in the country is fake,” Thiam said in an interview Friday in Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya. “The remaining 2 percent is currency printed during 1990-91, still circulating, but in very bad shape.”
Somalia’s descent into anarchy began with the ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. A subsequent Islamist insurgency has hastened the destruction of its political and economic institutions, slashing annual per capita income to $435 and making Somalia the world’s fifth-poorest country, according to the World Bank.
Printing of the new notes, which will initially be in small denominations, is aimed at restoring the Central Bank of Somalia’s powers to set monetary policy, he said. While the institution doesn’t have the money to finance the plan, donors will back the reforms and financing will be agreed on once the government decides whether it wants a floating- or fixed-rate currency regime. (Bloomberg)