Currency - Ghanaian cedi

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Ghanaian cedi

The Ghanaian cedi (currency sign: GH₵; currency code: GHS) is the unit of currency of Ghana. It is the fourth historical and only current legal tender in the Republic of Ghana. One cedi is divided into one hundred pesewas (Gp).

After it gained independence Ghana separated itself from the British West African pound, which was the currency of the British colonies in the region. The new republic's first independent currency was the Ghanaian pound (1958-1965). In 1965, Ghana decided to leave the British colonial monetary system and adopt the widely accepted decimal system. The African name Cedi (1965-1967) was introduced in place of the old British pound system. Ghana's first President Kwame Nkrumah introduced Cedi notes and Pesewa coins in July 1965 to replace the Ghanaian pounds, shillings and pence. The cedi was equivalent to eight shillings and four pence (8s 4d) and bore the portrait of the President.

After the February 1966 military coup, the new leaders wanted to remove the face of Nkrumah from the banknotes. The "new cedi" (1967-2007) was worth 1.2 cedis which made it equal to half of a pound sterling (or ten shillings sterling) at its introduction. After decades of high inflation devalued the new cedi, it was gradually phased out in 2007 in favor of the "Ghana cedi" at an exchange rate of 1:10,000. In 2007 the largest of the new cedi banknotes, the 20,000 note, had a value of about US$2. By removing four digits, the Ghana cedi became the highest-denominated currency unit issued in Africa. It has since lost about 80% of its value.

The word cedi is the Akan word for cowry shell, which were formerly used as currency in what is now Ghana. The Monetaria moneta or money cowry is not native to West African waters but is a common species in the Indian Ocean. The porcelain-like shells came to West Africa, beginning in the 14th century, through trade with Arab merchants. The shells became an important currency in the slave trade. The first modern coins exclusively used at the Gold Coast were produced in 1796 but cowries were used alongside coins and gold dust as currency until 1901.

The first cedi was introduced in 1965, replacing the pound at a rate of 2.4 cedi = 1 pound, or 1 pesewa = 1 penny. The first cedi was pegged to the British pound at a rate of 2.4 cedis = 1 pound.

The first cedi was replaced in 1967 by a "new cedi" which was worth 1.2 first cedis. This allowed a decimal conversion with the pound, namely 2 second cedis = 1 pound. The change also provided an opportunity to remove Kwame Nkrumah's image from coins and notes.

The second cedi was initially pegged to the British pound at a rate of 2 cedi = 1 pound. However, within months, the second cedi was devalued to a rate of 2.45 second cedi = 1 pound, less than the value of the first cedi. This rate was equivalent to 1 cedi = 0.98 U.S. dollars and the rate to the dollar was maintained when the British pound was devalued in November 1967. Further pegs were set of $0.55 in 1971, $0.78 in 1972, and $0.8696 in 1973 before the currency was floated in 1978. High inflation ensued, and so the cedi was re-pegged at ₵2.80 = $1.00.

Inflation continued to eat away at the cedi's value on the black market. In the early 1980s, the government started cracking down hard on the retail of products at prices other than the official established sale price (price controls). This had the effect of driving nearly all commerce underground, where black market prices for commodities were the norm, and nothing existed on store shelves. By 1983 the cedi was worth about 120 to one U.S. dollar on the black market, a pack of cigarettes cost about ₵150 (if they could be found), but the bank rate continued at ₵2.80 = $1.00. Finally, with foreign currency completely drying up for all import transactions, the government was forced to begin a process of gradual devaluation, and a liberalization of its strict price controls. This process ended in 1990 with a free float of the cedi against foreign currencies. Inflation continued (see exchange rate chart) until by July 2007, the cedi was worth about 9500 to one US dollar, and a transition to the third cedi was initiated.

In 1979 a currency confiscation took place. New banknotes were issued which were exchanged for old at a rate of 10 old for 7 new. Coins and bank accounts were unaffected.

A second confiscation took place in 1982, when the ₵50 note (the highest denomination) was demonetized. Ghanaians, in theory, could exchange any number of ₵50 notes for coins or other banknotes without loss, but foreigners could not make any exchange. However, many Ghanaians who were hoarding large amounts of cedis feared reprisal if they tried to convert all of it, and so simply burned a lot of their money. Many other Ghanaians received "promise payment notes" from the banks, but never received compensation. This confiscation was publicly justified as a means to create a disincentive for the flourishing black market. However, from a monetary perspective, currency confiscations have the effect of reducing the available cash in the economy, and thereby slowing the rate of inflation. After the ₵50 note confiscation, the ₵20 note was the highest cedi denomination, but had a street value of only about $0.35 (U.S.)



Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 238535 km2, Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. Ghana means "Warrior King" in the Soninke language.

The first permanent state in the territory of present-day Ghana dates back to the 11th century. Numerous kingdoms and empires emerged over the centuries, of which the most powerful was the Kingdom of Ashanti. Beginning in the 15th century, numerous European powers contested the area for trading rights, with the British ultimately establishing control of the coast by the late 19th century. Following over a century of native resistance, Ghana's current borders were established by the 1900s as the British Gold Coast. It became independent of the United Kingdom on 6 March 1957.


Ghanaian cedi (English)  Cedi ghanese (Italiano)  Ghanese cedi (Nederlands)  Cedi (Français)  Cedi (Deutsch)  Cedi (Português)  Ганский седи (Русский)  Cedi (Español)  Cedi (Polski)  迦納塞地 (中文)  Ghana Cedi (Svenska)  セディ (日本語)  Ганський седі (Українська)  Ганайско седи (Български)  가나 세디 (한국어)  Cedi (Suomi)  Cedi Ghana (Bahasa Indonesia)  Sedis (Lietuvių)  Cedi (Dansk)  Ghanský cedi (Česky)  Cedi (Türkçe)  Гански седи (Српски / Srpski)  Cedi (Slovenčina)  Ghánai cedi (Magyar)  Ganski cedi (Hrvatski)  Σέντι της Γκάνας (Ελληνικά)