The new set of coins was finally launched by President Ian Khama this past Thursday. Speaking at the event held at the Cash Management Centre along the Airport road, Khama said that the introduction of the new coin follows a comprehensive review of the national currency.
“Some countries introduce new currency to address a specific challenge of either hyper-inflation or rampant counterfeiting. This is not the case with us today. In fact, the launch of the new family of coins marks the end of a journey which began several years ago, when the Bank embarked on an extensive review of the country’s banknotes and coins, some of which had been in circulation since the introduction of the currency in 1976.” Khama said.
The bank says that the introduction of the coins is in line with international norms where currency is reviewed and updated periodically to take account of latest technology trends and security features. Indeed, in designing and minting the new family of coin, the Bank accessed the latest technology in the industry with a view to producing good quality coin.” a statement from the bank read.
The new family of coin has retained the seven denominations of 5 Pula, 2 Pula, 1 Pula, 50 thebe, 25 thebe, 10 thebe and 5 thebe.
Meanwhile Khama said that the old coin will be exchanged for new coin and/or bank notes at commercial banks over a period of six (6) months following the launch of new coin.
“What will then be old coin will be demonetized and exchangeable for equivalent value only at the Bank of Botswana in Gaborone and Francistown for a period of five (5) years.”
The size of each of the new coins is slightly larger compared to those currently in use. It has increased progressively from the lowest denomination (5 thebe) to the highest denomination (P5).
The shapes of the coins have also been changed somewhat; this is particularly the case for the higher denominations, P1 and P2; they are now noticeably circular.
Another feature of the new family of coins is that the metal composition has been changed to improve quality and durability and to enhance security. The metal quality is more resistant to counterfeiting, which (although rare with coins compared to notes) has the potential to undermine a country’s financial stability.