NAIROBI, KENYA, DECEMBER 12 —Kenya has introduced a series of new-generation coins as it moves to phase out the old generation currency which will bring to an end the use of Presidential images on its bills.
President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled the new coins in Nairobi on Tuesday ahead of the December 12 Jamhuri Day, celebrated every year to commemorate the date Kenya became an independent republic (December 12, 1964).
The President launched the new coins at the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) headquarters in Nairobi where they were handed over to him by the governor Patrick Njoroge.
The new coins which have features accessible to the visually impaired are in denominations 1, 5, 10 and 20 shillings. The Ksh1 coin bears the image of a giraffe, Ksh5 coin a rhino, Ksh10 coin a lion while the Ksh20 coin now has the image of an elephant.
“A nation’s currency is not merely an instrument for exchange of value. The motifs and design elements on currencies present a unique way of recording history,celebrating a country’s diverse culture and natural environment. The new coins have aspects that best describe our country,” President Kenyatta said.
The new coins went into circulations same day. The move is a step closer to the requirements of the new constitution which came into use in August 2010, which prohibits the use of a person’s portrait.
Kenyan currencies have borne the images of Presidents since 1966 when the first local shilling was introduced with the faces of the first President-Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and his successor Daniel Arap Moi’s faces dominating.
“Our nation has come a long way in making this big change in line with our Constitution.I applaud the CBK for finally making this a reality,” President Kenyatta said.
The first Kenyan coinage was issued in 1966 by the CBK which had denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50 cents, and 1 and 2 shillings.
The country also saw the introduction of bank notes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 shillings.
The 25 cents coins and 2 shillings were however phased out in 1969 and 1971 respectively.
In 1985, the government introduced the 5 shillings coins followed by the introduction of the 10 shillings coins in 1994. In the year 1998, the 20 shillings coin was introduced.
The country’s major notes of 200 shilling,500 shillings and 1,000 shillings were introduced in the years 1986, 1988 and 1994 respectively.
The portrait of Jomo Kenyatta appeared on all coins from 1967 to 1978 while that of former President Moi appeared between 1980-2005.
In 2005, CBK introduced a new coin series that restored the portrait of Kenyatta. His portrait was also printed on the 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings notes.
In commemoration of 40 years of independence in 2003, the CBK issued a bi- metallic 40 shilling coin with the portrait of former President Kibaki, the third President of the Kenya. New 40 shilling coins with the image of President Kenyatta were issued in 2005.
10 years later, the commemoration of 50 years of independence was marked by a 50 shilling coin that was not released for circulation but was made available for purchase.
It includes a gold coin sold at Ksh200, 000, a gold plated silver coin going for Ksh10, 000 and a gold plated brass coin sold at Ksh6, 000.
The introduction of the new coins paves way for printing of new-generation notes, ending a long tussle faced by the CBK.
Tendering and Printing
Previous tendering processes have been marred with court battles. UK firm De La Rue which has dominated the printing business in Kenya since 1985 finally got the nod to produce the new generation currency in October this year.
This is after the Court of Appeal declared that CBK ran a fair and transparent procurement process, overturning High Court Judge George Odunga’s ruling to quash the tender.
The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) had terminated the Ksh10 billion-a-year tender to De La Rue, after Swedish firm Crane AB accused CBK of breaching the law.
It said De La Rue had been given a 15 per cent margin preference for having local shareholding.
De La Rue beat German firm Giesecke & Devrient, Crane Currency and Oberthur Fiduciaire of France last year to the lucrative contract.
De LaRue has invested for over 25 years in Kenya, employing around 300 people directly, with an extended workforce of around 3000, and, contributes Ksh1.25 billion every year to the local economy.
It is currently investing US$2.9 million (KSh286 million) in the expansion of its site in Kenya to strengthen and underpin local operations.
This is part of a long term investment of Ksh1.4 billion to upgrade the site to become a regional hub for East Africa and the wider continent and a Global Centre of Excellence for De La Rue.