The second largest island nation in the world, Madagascar lies in the Indian Ocean close to East Africa. The country, which was formerly known as the Malagasy Republic, neighbors Mauritius, the French territories of Reunion, Mayotte, and the state of Comoros. During the Cretaceous period some 88 million years ago, Madagascar broke away from India giving ample time for its flora and fauna to develop.
Early Banknotes In Madagascar
Madagascar’s ariary is subdivided into 5 iraimbilanja has been in use along with the franc since its introduction in 1961. Malagasy ariary is one of the only two non-decimal currencies in the world. Both franc and ariary notes and coins were in circulation with the iraimbilanja or 1/5 of an ariary equivalent to the franc.
With the change of the country’s name from the Second Malagasy Republic to the Republika Demokratika Malagasy in December 1975, the Banky Folben’ny Republica Malagasy becomes the Banky Foiben’I Madagasikara or the Central Bank of Madagascar. Following the change, a new set of notes begin to circulate, they are also both in franc and ariary. These banknotes featured the Marxist emblem as well as a Malagasy family member on the obverse design.
In 1994, another family of notes begins to circulate, bearing all new design and in more vibrant colors. These notes highlight Malagasy people on the front design and an illustration of economic activities on the reverse.
Because of France’s switch to the euro in 2003, Madagascar started to eliminate the franc by printing the franc value in smaller fonts. Eventually, on January 1, 2005, the ariary became Madagascar’s official monetary unit.
New set of banknotes in the denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 20,000 ariary begin to circulate in 2017. With its “Madagascar and its Riches” theme, these banknotes showcase the country’s economic affairs, historic places, and wildlife. Their security features include security threads, a watermark in the form of a zebu’s head, and iridescent stripes.