The Central Bank of Sierra Leone has issued a new, re-denominated banknote series—a move intended to restore confidence in the national currency hit hard by inflation. The re-denominated banknotes, along with a new higher-denomination 20-Leones note, were put into circulation on 1 July 2022. It should be noted that a 2-Leones banknote will also be issued sometime this year (date to be determined).
The basic conversion of old to new denomination requires dividing the currency by one thousand (1,000), resulting in the removal of three zeros from the Leone. So, for example, a banknote of 10 new leones is the equivalent of an olde 10,000 leones note.
A closer look at the re-denominated banknotes
The re-denominated notes are printed on paper. They are similar in appearance as the old notes, but they are smaller in size. The re-denominated banknotes have the following dimensions:
- 10 Leones: 135 x 68 mm
- 5 Leones: 128 x 65 mm
- 1 Leone: 120 x 62 mm
As for the security features, there are similarities as well as modifications.
Security features that are similar to the previous notes:
- Watermark (head of a lion and the denomination)
- See-through register (part of the denomination, complete when viewed against the light).
New and modified security features in the re-denominated notes:
- Tactile feature (the raised bars on the front, in the left and right margins) to help the visually impaired identify the denomination.
- Enhanced security threads with changing colours and moving elements.
- A shiny silver stripe with rainbow colours and moving images on the front of the 10-Leones note.
The 20-Leones banknote: A new addition to the family
The 20-Leones banknote represents a new note and a new denomination in this series. It measures 138 x 70 mm and is printed on paper.
The visual design and security features of this note are described as follows:
Front side: English text; coat of arms; laurels flanking open book with flame; portrait of Constance Cummings-John. A shiny silver stripe with rainbow colours and moving images.
Back side: English text; coat of arms; group of students seated at school desks; map of Sierra Leone. Holographic windowed security thread with coat of arms; watermark: lion head and electrotype 20.
Making the transition from old to redenominated notes
Sierra Leoneans will be able to use both the old and new notes until 30 September 2022. Starting 1 October 2022, the old currency will not be accepted as legal tender. The public can exchange the old currency for the new banknotes until 15 November 2022.
Central Bank of Sierra Leone
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