Africa’s newest country, South Sudan released its own currency yesterday to banks in Juba, the capital. It is in denominations of one, five, 10, 25, 50 and 100. The notes printed by the UK company, De la Ru has a portrait of John Garang, the late father of South Sudan’s liberation movement.
The new country had to release its currency immediately after indepedence because of a shortage of Sudanese pounds in the central bank, said Aggrey Tisa, undersecretary for planning in the Ministry of Finance.
“If we didn’t start preparing to release the new pound six months ago, we would have run out of money by now,” he said.
It may take as long as two months before the new pound replaces the old currency the nation shared with the North before its independence on July 9.
Meanwhile, Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir announced on July 12 that his government has also decided to print a new currency.
“Now that they are releasing their new currency, the north will have nothing to do with the old pounds,” said Tisa. “We have storage problems, so either they will have to be burned or we will just collect them and stamp them as worthless.”
Initially, the South Sudan pound will be equal in value to the Sudanese pound, which currently trades at about 2.67 to a dollar, according to the Central Bank of Sudan, while on the parallel market it sold at about 3.4 to a dollar. However, the central bank plans to operate “a managed float” of the currency, setting its exchange rate depending on the price of oil and the value of regional currencies.
South Sudan now controls about 75 percent of the former Sudan’s total oil output, the third-biggest in sub-Saharan Africa.
The International Telecommunications Union has also assigned the new country its international dialing code: 211. This came after the United Nations formally recognized and welcomed the new country to its council.