Ghanaian cedi

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Ghanaian cedi
Cedi banknotes
ISO 4217 code GHS
Central bank Bank of Ghana
User(s)  Ghana
Inflation 17%
 Source Ghana Statistical Service
 1/100 Ghana pesewa
Symbol GH₵ (Also often GH¢)
 Ghana pesewa Gp
Coins 1, 5, 10, 20, 50Gp, GH₵1
Banknotes GH₵1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50

The Ghana cedi (currency sign: GH₵; currency code: GHS) is the unit of currency of Ghana. It is the fourth and only legal tender in the Republic of Ghana. One Ghana cedi is divided into one hundred pesewas (Gp).

After it gained independence Ghana separated itself from the British West African pound, which was the currency of the British colonies in the region. The new republic's first independent currency was the Ghanaian pound (1958-1965). In 1965, Ghana decided to leave the British colonial monetary system and adopt the widely accepted decimal system. The African name Cedi (1965-1967) was introduced in place of the old British pound system. Its first president Kwame Nkrumah introduced Cedi notes and Pesewa coins in July 1965 to replace the Ghana pounds, shillings and pence. The cedi was equivalent to eight shillings and four pence (8s 4d) and bore the portrait of the President

After a military coup the new leaders wanted to remove the face of Nkrumah from the banknotes. The new cedi (1967-2007) was worth 1.2 cedi which made it equal to half of a pound sterling at its introduction. After decades of high inflation had devalued the new cedi, it was gradually phased out in 2007 in favor of the Ghana cedi at an exchange rate of 1:10,000. In 2007 the largest of the new cedi banknotes, the 20,000 note, had a value of about US$2. By removing four digits the Ghana cedi became the highest-denominated currency unit issued in Africa. It has since lost about 75% of its value.


Cedi with a cowry.

The word cedi is the Fante word for cowry shell which were formerly used as currency in what is now Ghana. The Monetaria moneta or money cowry is not native to West African waters but is a common species in the Indian Ocean. The porcelain-like shells came to West Africa, beginning in the 14th century, through trade with Arab merchants. The shells became an important currency in the slave trade. The first modern coins exclusively used at the Gold Coast was produced in 1796 but cowries was used alongside coins and gold dust as currency until 1901.[1]


First cedi, 1965–1967

First cedi
Preceded by:
Ghanaian pound
Reason: decimalisation
Ratio: 2.4 first cedi = 1pound, or 1 pesewa = 1 penny
Currency of Ghana
19 July 1965 – 22 February 1967
Succeeded by:
Second cedi
Reason: convenience of exchange and an opportunity to remove Kwame Nkrumah from coins and notes
Ratio: 1 second cedi = 1.2 first cedis

The first cedi was introduced in 1965, replacing the pound at a rate of 2.4 cedi = 1 pound, or 1 pesewa = 1 penny. The first cedi was pegged to the British pound at a rate of 2.4 cedis = 1 pound.

Second cedi (GHC), 1967–2007

Second cedi
Preceded by:
First cedi
Reason: convenience of exchange and an opportunity to remove Kwame Nkrumah from coins and notes
Ratio: 1 second cedi = 1.2 first cedis = 0.5 pound
Currency of Ghana
23 February 1967 – 2 July 2007
Succeeded by:
Third cedi
Reason: inflation
Ratio: 1 third cedi = 10,000 second cedis

The first cedi was replaced in 1967 by a "new cedi" which was worth 1.2 first cedis. This allowed a decimal conversion with the pound, namely 2 second cedis = 1 pound. The change also provided an opportunity to remove Kwame Nkrumah's image from coins and notes.

The second cedi was initially pegged to the British pound at a rate of 2 cedi = 1 pound. However, within months, the second cedi was devalued to a rate of 2.45 second cedi = 1 pound, less than the value of the first cedi. This rate was equivalent to 1 cedi = 0.98 U.S. dollars and the rate to the dollar was maintained when the British pound was devalued in November 1967. Further pegs were set of $0.55 in 1971, $0.78 in 1972, and $0.8696 in 1973 before the currency was floated in 1978. High inflation ensued, and so the cedi was re-pegged at ₵2.80 = $1.00.

Inflation continued to eat away at the cedi's value on the black market. In the early eighties, the government started cracking down hard on the retail of products at prices other than the official established sale price (price controls). This had the effect of driving nearly all commerce underground, where black market prices for commodities were the norm, and nothing existed on store shelves. By 1983 the cedi was worth about 120 to one U.S. dollar on the black market, a pack of cigarettes cost about ₵150 (if they could be found), but the bank rate continued at ₵2.80 = $1.00. Finally, with foreign currency completely drying up for all import transactions, the government was forced to begin a process of gradual devaluation, and a liberalization of its strict price controls. This process ended in 1990 with a free float of the cedi against foreign currencies. Inflation continued (see exchange rate chart) until by July 2007, the cedi was worth about 9500 to one US dollar, and a transition to the third cedi was initiated.

In 1979 a currency confiscation took place. New banknotes were issued which were exchanged for old at a rate of 10 old for 7 new. Coins and bank accounts were unaffected.

A second confiscation took place in 1982, when the ₵50 note (the highest denomination) was demonetized. Ghanaians, in theory, could exchange any number of ₵50 notes for coins or other banknotes without loss, but foreigners could not make any exchange. However, many Ghanaians who were hoarding large amounts of cedis feared reprisal if they tried to convert all of it, and so simply burned a lot of their money. Many other Ghanaians received "promise payment notes" from the banks, but never received compensation. This confiscation was publicly justified as a means to create a disincentive for the flourishing black market. However, from a monetary perspective, currency confiscations have the effect of reducing the available cash in the economy, and thereby slowing the rate of inflation. After the ₵50 note confiscation, the ₵20 note was the highest cedi denomination, but had a street value of only about $0.35 (U.S.)

After the ₵50 note confiscation, fears existed that the government could also confiscate the ₵20 or even the ₵10 notes. This fear, along with inflation running at about 100% annually, started causing Ghanaian society to lose its faith in its own currency. Some transactions could only then be done in foreign currencies (although that was technically illegal), and other more routine transactions began to revert to a barter economy.

In 1991, 10, 20, 50, and 100 cedi coins were introduced, followed by 200 and 500 cedis in 1996. These six denominations were still in circulation till 2007. However, the 10 cedis (~0.1 U.S. cents) and 20 cedis (~0.2 U.S. cents) coins were not seen much due to their small value.[2]

Third cedi (GHS), 2007–

Third cedi
Preceded by:
Second cedi
Reason: inflation
Ratio: 1 third cedi = 10,000 second cedis
Currency of Ghana
2 July 2007 – Present
Succeeded by:

Because of the rampant inflation in the decades before the exchange the second cedi was only worth a small fraction of its original value. The government decided to "cut" four zeros off the currency by the switch to the third cedi. The new currency was not introduced as the third cedi but is instead officially called the Ghanaian Cedi, in contrast to the second cedi that was officially known as the New Cedi. In the second half of 2007 both the second and third cedi were legal tender as the old currency were being gradually withdrawn. At the end of December 2007 more than 90% of all old coins and notes had been withdrawn.[3] From January 2008 old banknotes could only be exchanged at banks and was no longer legal tender.[4]

On 14 May 2010 a GH₵2 banknote was issued to meet public need for an intermediate denomination and reduce the frequency, and associated cost, of printing large volumes of the GH₵1 banknote. The introduction of the new denomination coincides with the conclusion of the year-long centenary celebrations of the birth of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, and has the commemorative text "Centenary of the Birth of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah".[5]

The third Cedi has been losing value continuously since it was introduced but in 2014 the inflation rose rapidly as the value of the third cedi fell to a fourth of its original value.[6] The fall was ended in the last quarter of 2014 as the currency stabilized due to a pending IMF bailout of Ghana.[7]


The Bank of Ghana have been issuing all Ghanaian coins since 1958.[8] Beside the coins in general circulation the bank have also issued commemorative coins[9] These special coins have been issued in shillings (1958), crowns (1965), pounds (1958-1977), sikas (1997-2003) and cedis (2013-).[10] It is unclear if the Bank of Ghana considered commemorative crowns and sikas together with the commemorative pounds that were coined after 1965 as legal tender or simply as medallions.[11]

Only coins that have been or are in general circulation are included in this list. The years of issue does not indicated that the series have been coined every year in the period but that the coin has been issued more than once in the stated period. Some coins are held back and released years after they are issued. This means that in the general circulation there are worn out coins and coins in mint condition from the same issuing year. The Bank of Ghana has never stated if they are simply holding back already stamped coins until they are needed or if they are stamping coins successively with old issue years.

Cedi (1965-67)

(Legal tender: 1965-67)
Image Value Description Date of issue
Obverse & Reverse Obverse Reverse Metal Weight Diameter Edge
5 pesewas (1958).jpg 5 pesewas Kwame Nkrumah
(the Founder of Ghana)
Five-pointed star
The value of the coin
Copper/Nickel 4.1 g 22 mm Smooth 19 July 1965
10 pesewas (1958).jpg 10 pesewas 3.2 g 20 mm Milled
25 pesewas (1958).jpg 25 pesewas 8.65 g 27.4 mm
50 pesewas (1958).jpg 50 pesewas 13.9 g 32 mm Reeded

New cedi

New Cedi - 1st series
(Legal tender: 1967-2007)
Image Value Description Years of issue
Obverse & Reverse Obverse Reverse Metal Weight Diameter Edge
½ pesewas (new cedi).jpg ½ pesewa Adowa drums
Five-pointed star
The value of the coin
The year of issue
Bronze 2.9 g 20.2 mm Smooth 1967
1 pesewas (new cedi).jpg 1 pesewa 5.72 g 25.47 mm 1967-1979
2½ pesewas (new cedi).jpg 2½ pesewas Cacao fruits
The shield from the Coat of arms of Ghana
The value of the coin
The year of issue
Copper/Nickel 3.2 g 19.5 mm 1967
5 pesewas (new cedi).jpg 5 pesewas 2.85 g 19 mm Reeded 1967-1975
10 pesewas (new cedi).jpg 10 pesewas 5.6 g 23.5 mm 1967-1979
20 pesewas (new cedi).jpg 20 pesewas 11.2 g 28 mm
50 pesewas (new cedi).jpg 50 pesewas 12.5 g 32 mm Milled 1979
1 cedi (new cedi).jpg 1 cedi Cowry shell
Brass 11.9 g 30 mm Smooth

Ghana cedi

The new coins are 1 pesewa (100 old cedi), 5 pesewas (500), 10 pesewas (1,000), 20 pesewas (2,000), 50 pesewas (5,000), and 1 cedi (10,000). By 2011 the 1 pesewa had fallen out of circulation due to inflation and is mostly kept in bank vaults.[12]


The Bank of Ghana have been issuing all Ghanaian banknotes since 1958.[13][14] Most of the Ghanaian banknotes have been changed slightly from one years issue to the next years issue in the ongoing technological fight against counterfeit money. The signature of the notes does also change when a new governor takes over the management of the Bank of Ghana.[15] Such changes are plentiful and are not covered in this list. The years of issue does not indicated that the series have been printed every year in the period but that the banknote has been issued more than once in the stated period.

Cedi (1965-67)

(Legal tender: 1965-67)
Image Value Description Date of issue
Obverse & Reverse Obverse Reverse
1 cedi (1965).jpg 1 cedi Kwame Nkrumah Bank of Ghana 19 July 1965
5 cedis (1965).jpg 5 cedis Supreme Court
10 cedis (1965).jpg 10 cedis Independence Arch
50 cedis (1965).jpg 50 cedis Seashore, Palms
100 cedis (1965).jpg 100 cedis Kumasi Central Hospital
1000 cedis (1965).jpg 1,000 cedis
(Only used in Interbanking Transactions)
Black Star Bank of Ghana

New cedi (1967-2007)

1967 to 1979

New cedi - 1st series
(Legal tender: 1967-79)
Image Value Description Years of issue
Obverse & Reverse Obverse Reverse
1 Cedi (1967).jpg 1 cedi Cocoa Shield and sword 1967-1971
5 cedis (1967).jpg 5 cedis Fauna carvings Fauna carvings 1967-1969
10 Cedi (1967).jpg 10 cedis Art projects Statuettes 1967-1970
New cedi - 2nd series
(Legal tender: 1972-79)
Image Value Description Years of issue
Obverse & Reverse Obverse Reverse
1 cedi (1973).jpg 1 cedi School girl with headphones Cocoa farmer 1973-1978
2 cedis (1972).jpg 2 cedis Farmer Fishermen 1972-78
5 cedis (1973).jpg 5 cedis Market woman Larabanga mosque 1973-1978
10 cedi (1973).jpg 10 cedis Pipe smoker Akosombo Dam

1979 to 2007

New cedi - 3rd series
(Legal tender: 1979-2007)
Image Value Description Years of issue
Obverse & Reverse Obverse Reverse
1 cedi (1979).jpg 1 cedi Young man Basket weaver 1979-1982
2 cedis (1979).jpg 2 cedis School girl Field workers
5 cedis (1979).jpg 5 cedis Northerner Lumberers
10 cedis (1979).jpg 10 cedis Young woman Fishermen
20 cedis (1979).jpg 20 cedis Miner Kente weaver
50 cedis (1979).jpg 50 cedis
(Demonetized in 1982)
Elderly man Cocoa farmers 1979-1980
New cedi - 4th series
(Legal tender: 1983-2007)
Image Value Description Years of issue
Obverse & Reverse Obverse Reverse Start End
10 cedi (1984).jpg 10 cedis W. O. II Larbi, Fred Otoo, E. Kwasi Nukpor Rural bank building 1984 1984
20 cedis (1984).jpg 20 cedis Queen Mother Yaa Asantewaa Miner, army officer, student, demonstrators 1986
50 cedis (1983).jpg 50 cedis Young man Workers drying grain 1983
100 Cedis (1983).png 100 cedis Woman Loading produce 1991
200 Cedis (1983).jpg 200 cedis Old man Teacher and students 1993
500 cedis (1986).png 500 cedis Black star, fist, and "Gye Nyame" Cocoa and miner 1986 1994
1000 cedis (1991).png 1,000 cedis Diamonds Cocoa harvest 1991 2003
2000 cedis (1994).png 2,000 cedis Adomi Bridge Fishermen 1994 2006
5000 cedis (1994).png 5,000 cedis Coat of arms of Ghana Cargo ships and logs
10000 cedis (2002).jpg 10,000 cedis The Big Six Independence Arch 2002
20000 cedis (2002).jpg 20,000 cedis Ephraim Amu National Theatre of Ghana

Ghana cedi (2007-Present)

Ghanaian cedi
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description First issued
Obverse & Reverse Obverse Reverse
1 Ghana Cedi.png 1 cedi 137 × 65 mm Red The Big Six, Independence Arch Akosombo Dam 3 July 2007
2 Ghana Cedis.jpg 2 cedis 140 × 67 mm Beige Kwame Nkrumah Parliament House 14 May 2010
5 Ghana Cedis.png 5 cedis 141 × 68 mm Blue The Big Six, Independence Arch University of Ghana, The Balme Library 3 July 2007
10 Ghana Cedis.png 10 cedis 145 × 71 mm Yellow-green Bank of Ghana
20 Ghana Cedis.png 20 cedis 149 × 74 mm Purple Supreme Court
50 Ghana Cedis.jpg 50 cedis 153 × 77 mm Brown Christiansborg Castle

Exchange rate history

These table shows the historical value of one U.S. dollar in Ghanaian cedis:
Date Cedi per U.S. $ Date Cedi per U.S. $
Cedi (First cedi)
1965 0.824 1967 0.714
New cedi (Second cedi)
1970s ~1.000 (0.833 to 1.111) 1980 2.80 Bank rate (~20 Blackmarket)
1983 30.00 Bank rate (~120 Blackmarket) (Oct 83) 1984 35.00 (Mar 84); 38.50 (Aug 84); 50 (Dec 84)
1985 50 – 60 1986 90
1987 150 – 175 1988 175 – 230
1989 230 – 300 1990 300 – 345
1991 345 – 390 1992 390 – 520
1993 555 – 825 1994 825 – 1050
1995 1050 – 1450 1996 1450 – 1750
1997 1750 – 2250 1998 2250 – 2350
1999 2350 – 3550 2000 3550 – 6750
2001 6750 – 7300 2002 7300 – 8450
2003 8450 – 8850 2004 8850 – 8900
2005 8900 – 9500 2006 9500 – 9600
2007 9600 – 9300
Ghana Cedi (Third cedi)[16]
Year January 1 May 1 September 1
2008 0.930 1.005 1.155
2009 1.265 1.460 1.465
2010 1.430 1.425 1.440
2011 1.486 1.496 1.535
2012 1.639 1.855 1.932
2013 1.905 1.974 2.150
2014 2.353 2.823 3.723
2015 0.2594
The price of one US$ in GH₵
Current GHS exchange rates
Note: Rates obtained from these websites may contradict with pegged rate mentioned above

See also


  1. "Cowrie shells and the slave trade". British Museum. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  2. "Metal cedis and pesewas - modern coins of Ghana". Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  3. "Don’t Give Out Change In Old notes, Coins". Modern Ghana. December 19, 2007. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  4. "Time Out For Old Cedi Notes". Modern Ghana. December 31, 2007. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  5. "Ghana new 2-cedi note confirmedn". Banknote News. July 23, 2010. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  6. "Ghana Cedi at risk of sliding to 4 per Dollar, HFC says". Starrf. July 5, 2014. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  7. "IMF bail out is to stabilize the cedi". B&FT. August 3, 2014. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  8. "Bank of Ghana - A brief historical background". Bank of Ghana. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  9. "Ghana coins". Numista. Retrieved December 23, 2014. 
  10. George S. Cuhaj; Thomas Michael (15 September 2011). Unusual World Coins. Krause Publications. pp. 262–264. ISBN 1-4402-1712-2. 
  11. "Ghanaian gold coins". Tax Free Gold. Retrieved December 23, 2014. 
  12. "Ghana's 1 Pesewa Seldom Seen". March 22, 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  13. "Banknotes of Ghana". Bank of Ghana. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  14. "Bank Og Ghana issued banknotes". The Banknote Museum. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  15. "Banknot News page about Ghana". Banknote News. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  16. "United States dollar (USD) and Ghana cedi (GHS) Exchange Rate History". Retrieved September 11, 2013. 

External links