Presidents’ Faces To Go In Kenya's Currency Redesign

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has called on the public to submit proposals for design elements for new currency.

The faces of Kenya’s current and former presidents will soon disappear from bank notes and coins, after the Central Bank of Kenya started a process to redesign local currency.

In a notice published in the dailies on Wednesday, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) called on the public to submit proposals for design elements for the new currency. But Kenyans will wait for at least two more years before any new design note is issued to a commercial bank.

CBK says designs should reflect the spirit of the new constitution and the country’s development goals as enshrined in Vision 2030.

They must also be unique to Kenya, attractive, socially acceptable and culturally relevant.

“This is what the new constitution demands and we are moving to comply,” Mr James Lopoyetum, the CBK’s director of currency operations told the Nation in an interview. The new constitution banned incorporation of portraits or images of individuals in currency design.

This means the faces of the late president Jomo Kenyatta and his successor former president Moi will not be used on the new currency.

It is not the first time that local currency is undergoing an aesthetic overhaul. In 1979, Kenyan notes were redesigned and emblazoned with the face of former President Moi to usher in his era.

Currently, bank notes and coins in circulation carry pictures of founding President Kenyatta and his successor Moi, save for the Sh40 coin that carries a picture of the current president, Mwai Kibaki.

Dominant Kenyan physical features, flora and fauna and key economic activities such as agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, are expected to replace these presidential portraits.

Colours and sizes will also be reconsidered, a move that could force commercial banks to re-configure their ATMs and other currency dispensing machines.

April 13, 2012 is the deadline for the public to submit design proposals after which it will take a minimum of 24 months. The current family of currency will continue to circulate concurrently with the new design currency.

“We will let the notes and coins that are already in circulation die out naturally,” Mr Lopoyetum said.

The maximum lifespan of a note is three years while that of a coin is 25 years. Any old currency left in circulation could still be acceptable legal tender for decades to come, before CBK demonetizes them.

This article originally appeared in the Daily Nation on March 7, 2012.

The thoughts and opinions in this piece are those of their author and are not necessarily the thoughts of the Certified Collectibles Group.

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