Nigeria is located in West Africa and is the most populous country in Africa, with over 180 million people. It also has many ethnic groups that speak hundreds of languages. Nigeria also has one of the world’s fastest growing economies. It is also Africa’s largest oil producer. In the recent months their national currency, the Naira has been in the news. Read along to learn why.

Zuma Rock, Nigeria | Source: AS

In the 19th century, Britain took control over parts of Nigeria. They were interested in building a railway and port to facilitate trade with other African countries and wanted to find new markets for their goods. The British also wanted access to raw materials, such as gold and palm oil, a product still used today. Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960. The country was ruled by a military government until 1999, when a civilian administration took over. Oil production began in 1973 and has been one of the main sources of revenue for Nigeria ever since.

Nigera 1000, 500, 200 Naira banknotes old design | Source: Banknote World

The Nigerian Naira

In 1973 the first Nigerian Naira comes into circulation in the country. It was the countries first independent official currency. For the most part, they have all maintained the same design over the years. That is with notable person on the obverse with important monuments as well as images of Nigerian culture on the reverse. As do most central banks, every few years they release updated designs with newer security features that make them harder to counterfeit.

Nigeria 1000, 500, 200 Naira Banknotes | 2022 | Source: Central Bank of Nigeria

Well at the end of 2022 and in January of 2023 the Central Bank of Nigeria announced new 1,000 500 and 200 Naira banknotes.They feature the same statesmen as before. However as a new deterrent for counterfeiters the major change is their colors. The new 1,000 is now all blue, the 500 is now all green and lastly the 200 Naira is now primarily red. The 1,000 Naira still features governors Alhaji Aliyu Mai-Bornu and Dr Clement Isong. The 500 Still features Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who served as first president. Lastly the 200 Naira still features Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello who served as premier. January 31st was also the last day to trade in the old design of banknotes. It is said that the move is part of a larger plan to control corruption and inflation. Something similar happened in India a few years ago. What do you think of the newly designed banknotes? Do you think the intention of the new banknotes is viable?

Indian citizens waiting to trade in old banknotes | 2016 | Source: France24

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