The Central Bank of Kenya on Tuesday unveiled four new currency coins with inscriptions depicting the country’s rich wildlife.
Kenya’s new 1, 5, 10 and 20 shillings coins feature images of a giraffe, rhino, lion, and an elephant respectively on one side with the Kenyan coat of arms on the other.
The old coins had portraits of the country’s former presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi.
The country’s Apex bank in a statement said it sought the public’s opinion before it adopted the wildlife images on the coins, adding that features on the new currency will make them “more accessible to visually impaired persons.”
Inscriptions on the coins are written in English and Swahili, the country’s two official languages.
President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled the new currency.
Kenyatta said the designs on the coins reflects Kenya’s diverse culture and natural environment while showing “aspects that best describe the East African nation.
“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,” Kenyatta said.
“The new coins have aspects that best describe our country.”
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The roll-out of the coins reflects Kenya’s 2010 constitution prohibiting the use of a person’s portrait on currencies.
Some Kenyans on social media praised the government for adhering to the country’s constitution, many questioned the relevance of the coins, saying they are rarely accepted for business transactions in the country.
“You need to sensitize Kenyans especially in the rural areas about the usage of coins. The traders at the local market in my village will not accept one shilling coins even if they add up to say 5 shillings or ten shillings,” one Twitter user, Faith Koli, said in a tweet.
Anthony Wambua said some shopping outlets do not accept coins for payment.
“Some leading malls, supermarkets, wholesalers, retailers, shops and canteens don’t accept one Kenya shilling as medium of purchasing things, why launch the 1kshs coin that business people don’t allow as a medium of doing business need clarification on that,” Wambua tweeted.
Kenya’s CBK governor Patrick Njorge said the bank would begin an awareness campaign to educate the public on the use of the coins.
The currencies dubbed, ‘the new generation coins’ are already being circulated in the country.