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Angola Issues New Coins, Bank Notes
By Richard Giedroyc, World Coin News
March 25, 2013

This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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Angola’s on-again, off-again relationship with coins is on again. Coins in denominations of 50 centimos, 1, 5, and 10 kwanza went into circulation January 18, complying with National Assembly legislation updating circulating currency approved on June 26, 2012.

The coins will eventually replace the current coinage, issued in denominations of 10 and 50 centimos and 1, 2, and 5 kwanza. It is understood the 2013 coins are to circulate alongside those they replace.

Bank notes in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 5,000 kwanza will be released between March and June. The new 5,000-kwanza bank note has raised eyebrows since it could suggest inflation is still a problem in Angola. It currently takes 100 kwanza to equal one US dollar.

Banco Nacionel de Angola Governor Jose de Lima Massano was at the Jan. 30 coin unveiling ceremony, where he defended the central bank’s issuance of the 5,000-kwanza note by saying the new denomination would not increase the total value of the money in circulation. The new series of bank notes are being introduced on par with the value of the notes they will soon replace. No date has been set for an official withdrawal of the soon to be obsolete past series of coins and bank notes.

BNA Deputy Governor Antonio Andre Lopes said there will be an estimated 750 million kwanza in coins and bank notes in circulation. At least two thirds of the new currency is expected to be released into commerce within the year.

The 5,000-kwanza bank note denomination might be a sign of things to come, but the fact coins are expected to circulate is a good thing for Angola’s often inflation riddled economy.

Angola is changing its bank notes for the first time in 14 years, this being a needed update that includes many new security features. No new security features were announced regarding the coins. The first coins of modern independent Angola were the 10, 20, and 50 lwei, and 1, 2, 5, and 10 kwanza carrying the date of independence, Dec. 27, 1975, rather than the year of issue. A 20-kwanza coin was added to this mix in 1978. The last date to appear on this coin series was 1979. Inflation became a problem after this time.

In 1990 the novo or new kwanza was introduced, with the kwanza being exchanged on par, however local citizens were only allowed to exchange 5 percent of their cash for the new bank notes. The balance had to be exchanged for government securities. No coins were issued at this time due to continuing inflation. Bank notes were initially issued in denominations as high as 5,000 novo kwanza, but were eventually issued in denominations as high as 500,000 kwanza.

In 1995 the kwanza reajustado or readjusted kwanza was introduced at an exchange rate of 1,000 novo kwanza to one kwanza reajustado. Inflation continued to be a problem. For this reason once again no coins were issued. Notes were eventually issued in denominations as high as 5 million kwanza.

The current system was introduced in 1999. The system involves 100 centimos equal to one kwanza. Inflation was a problem at first, but has since been managed much better than in the past. Coins were issued in denominations of 10 and 50 centimos and 1, 2, and 5 kwanza.

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