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Zambian kwacha
ISO 4217 Code ZMK
User(s)  Zambia
Inflation 10.6%
Source The World Factbook, 2007 est.
Subunit
1/100 ngwee
Symbol ZK
Banknotes
Freq. used 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 kwacha
Rarely used 20 kwacha
Central bank Bank of Zambia
Website www.boz.zm

The kwacha (ISO 4217 code: ZMK) is the currency of Zambia. It is subdivided into 100 ngwee.

Contents

Etymology

The name derives from the Nyanja and Bemba word for "dawn", alluding to the Zambian nationalist slogan of a "new dawn of freedom". The name ngwee translates as "bright" in the Nyanja language.

History

In 1968, the kwacha replaced the pound at a rate of 2 kwacha = 1 pound (10 shillings = 1 kwacha). The currency has suffered from high inflation. In 1968, the kwacha was worth 1.2 U.S. dollars, but in 2006, the dollar was worth 4,800 kwacha.

As of December 17, 2008, 1 US dollar = 5,180 kwacha.[1]

Coins

5 kwacha in 1992
Coat of arms Value

In 1968, bronze 1 and 2 ngwee and cupro-nickel 5, 10 and 20 ngwee were introduced, followed by 50 ngwee in 1969 (click for image). In 1982, copper-clad-steel replaced bronze. The 1 and 2 ngwee were struck until 1983, with production of the 5 and 10 ngwee ceasing in 1987 and that of the 20 ngwee in 1988. Nickel-brass 1 kwacha were introduced in 1989. In 1992, a new coinage was introduced consisting of nickel-plated-steel 25 and 50 ngwee and brass 1, 5 and 10 kwacha.

All these coins remain legal tender. However, their diminished value, due to inflation, means that they are never seen or used in normal trade. The only place you see coins today is when they are sold as souvenirs to tourists.

Banknotes

In 1968, the Bank of Zambia introduced notes for 50 ngwee, 1, 2, 10 and 20 kwacha. 5 kwacha notes were introduced in 1973, the same year that the last 50 ngwee notes were issued. 50 kwacha notes were introduced in 1986, with the 1 kwacha note being replaced by a coin in 1988. 100 and 500 kwacha notes were introduced in 1991, followed by 1000, 5000 and 10,000 kwacha in 1992, when the 5 and 10 kwacha notes were replaced by coins and the 2 kwacha discontinued. In 2003, 20,000 and 50,000 kwacha notes were introduced.

Denomination Dates
50 ngwee 1968-1973
1 kwacha 1968-1988
2 kwacha 1968-1989
5 kwacha 1973-1989
10 kwacha 1968-1991
20 kwacha 1968-1992
50 kwacha 1986-
100 kwacha 1991-
500 kwacha 1991-
1000 kwacha 1992-
5000 kwacha 1992-
10,000 kwacha 1992-
20,000 kwacha 2003-
50,000 kwacha 2003-

Until 1991, all Zambian banknotes featured a portrait of President Kenneth Kaunda on the obverse. Since 1992, all notes have instead featured a fish eagle on the obverse. Since 1989, all the reverses have featured the Chainbreaker statue. In 2003, Zambia became the first African country to issue polymer banknotes. The 500 and 1000 kwacha are both printed on polymer.

Although the 20 kwacha note is still in circulation, such is the rarity of this note that most major retailers will round prices up to the nearest 50 kwacha when calculating a total. Most items in major supermarkets are displayed using 20 kwacha in the value (e.g., 1980 kwacha).

Current ZMK exchange rates
From Google Finance: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD ZAR
From Yahoo! Finance: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD ZAR
From XE.com: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD ZAR
From OANDA.com: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD ZAR

See also

References

External links

Preceded by:
Zambian pound
Ratio: 2 kwacha = 1 pound
Currency of Zambia
1968 –
Succeeded by:
Current
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