Sankofa Series: Watch Ghanaians lining up to exchange Ghana pounds for new cedi notes in 1965

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A rare video of some Ghanaians captured lining up at the Ghana Commercial Bank to replace the Ghana pounds (shillings and pence) with the new cedi and pesewa coins has emerged online.

On July 19, 1965, Ghana adopted the cedi notes and pesewa coins to replace the Ghana pounds which were made up of shillings and pence.

Under British colonial rule, the official currency was known as the Ghana pounds, shillings, and pence.

Years after gaining independence in 1957, Ghana decided to formally leave the British Colonial Monetary System and adopt the widely accepted decimal system.

The newly adopted cedi notes and pesewa coins at the time were equivalent to eight shillings and four pence (8s 4p) and bore the portrait of the country’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

The name ‘cedi’ was however derived from the Akan word ‘die’ meaning cowrie – a shell form of currency that gained popularity and wider circulation in the later part of the 19th Century.

The ‘pesewa’ on the other hand represented the smallest denomination of the gold-dust currency regime and its name was chosen to replace the British Colonial penny.

In a video shared on Twitter by @GhanaianMuseum, some Ghanaians were captured lining up at the Ghana Commercial Bank to replace the Ghana pounds (shillings and pence) with the new cedi and pesewa coins.

Meanwhile, according to the Statistics and Reports Office of the Bank of Ghana, the military government, after the overthrow of Nkrumah through a coup d’état, decided to replace the existing cedi which bore Nkrumah’s portrait with one without his portrait.

The New Cedi (N¢), as it was called, was introduced on February 27, 1967, to replace the 1965 cedi at a rate of ¢1.20=N¢1.00. The N¢ notes remained in circulation until March 1973 when they became simply known as the cedi.

From 1965 till the present, various cedi and pesewa denominations have been put into circulation.

The newest version of the Ghana Cedi was introduced on July 3, 2007, with one cedi being equal to 10,000 old cedis. It was the highest-valued currency unit issued by sovereign countries in Africa in 2007.

The Ghana Cedi is printed in the United Kingdom by a security printing firm called De La Rue.

This is according to the retired former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Emmanuel Asiedu-Mante, who revealed this in an interview with in 2019.

The former deputy governor also revealed that the cedi has also been printed in Germany, France, and others.

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