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Ugandan money: A tale of a country embracing tourism


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By View uganda

Upon their unveiling, they received a nod. Printed by De La Rue, a United Kingdom Company, the 2010 family of Uganda shilling notes was awarded for being the most beautiful, unique and secure currency out of over 40 currencies that contested for the award.

The Best New Bank Note Series recognition happened in 2011 and was organized by the International Association of Currency Affairs. To ensure thoroughness, the organization worked hand in hand with public and private sector to provide for in international exchange for consultation and collaboration on matters of interest to stakeholders in the cash payments cycle.

This is a serialized write-up, we are looking to see what the touristic features on the notes are and telling that story to the core. But first, let’s explore the major differences between current family of notes and previous ones, right? The stories that follow will dissect note for note and together we shall journey to the location of the feature. However, to do this, let’s first explore the major differences between the current and previous notes, shall we?


Choice features

Previously, the notes mostly featured agricultural produce; food crops and cash crops. It was clearly a deliberate effort to encourage Ugandans to embrace farming as a source of livelihood.  Currently though, the notes are touristy as they mostly feature unique tourism attractions of the country.

In part, this is in recognition of the fact that Tourism continues to be a pillar of Uganda's economy. Contributing over Shs7bn annually to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), it is fast becoming a big source of employment and revenue.

Unlike notes from the previous family, the ones in the present do not bear faces of political leaders, as was the case in the ones used during President Idi Amin’s reign. This is because they are purposed to unite Ugandans regardless of political affiliation or race. Through this unity, guerillas wars as was the case in 1980's can be avoided.


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The creative juice

Before the latest notes, now almost a decade old, design was simply by financial consultants. But not the new ones, these ones were by bother foreign artists and financial consultants. Beauty and colour was key. In contrast, the 2010 family of notes depict a Ugandan character and are in harmony with each other as they all bear uniting elements. These include independence monument, crested cranes, map of Uganda featuring the equator and, patterns of a map.

Also, did you know that they are the first notes to be designed by local Ugandans, as spearheaded by Gen. Elly Tumwine, patron of the Uganda Artists Association? The team comprised of three lecturers at Makerere University's College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology; Prof. George Kyeyune, Patrick Sserunjogi and Raymond Nsereko. Then there is Joseph Sematimba a Lecturer at Margaret Trowel School of Industrial and Fine Arts and Dr. Emmanuel Mutungi a lecturer at Kyambogo University, department of Vocational Studies.

The above six conducted the project of designing the notes under their company, Art and Design Consultancy Consortium. It took one year of research which included travelling around the country to design the notes. The Team also took time to study other currencies in an effort to make the Uganda shilling note stand out.


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To quote Bank of Uganda’s governor, Emmanuel Tumutebile, compared to notes of the previous, the new notes have security as a major component. Nearly impossible to counterfeit, the new notes were created using the world’s most advanced technology.

  • A watermark and electrotype formed within the paper - When held up to the light, the crested crane image is visible. You should look for the light area near the eye and the dark area above the beak. The denomination of each banknote is also shown vertically in the electrotype form below the beak.


  • A windowed security thread running through the banknote paper - A special thread is woven into the paper. On the front it appears a silvery stripe. When held up to direct light, it appears as a continuous line and changes colour from red to green when tilted.


  • High quality paper - Members of the public report that they recognize a banknote as a counterfeit by the texture of the paper; and the fineness of the print quality on a genuine banknote is difficult for current scanning equipment to resolve properly. Intaglio printing, where thick ink lends a raised surface to the print surface, is difficult to reproduce cheaply.


  • The foil images are distinctly different for each denomination. In addition to the denomination numeral, a main pattern, Shield (50,000), drums (20,000), and pots (10,000) can be seen clearly. Moving lines around the main pattern change in a different manner on tilting the note side to side.




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