Uganda' s Award Winning Money

Uganda introduced its latest notes into circulation in 2010. It was the seventh change in currency since the Bank of Uganda was created in 1966. These notes are unique in that they do not picture political leaders, and have not done so since the 1970s, during the regime of Idi Amin. The designs instead are Ugandan in character, showcasing national pride, cultural heritage and areas of natural beauty. They represent some of Uganda’s tourism highlights, such as the mountain gorillas, crater lakes and local monuments.

The notes were designed by local artists, under the Art and Design Consultancy Consortium. The project was spearheaded by General Ely Tumwine, of the Uganda Artists Association, with help from five art specialists from local universities. Professor George Kyeyune, Patrick Sseunjogi and Raymond Nsereko from Makerere University’s College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology worked with Joseph Sematimba from Makerere’s Margaret Trowel School of Industrial Fine Arts and Dr. Emmanuel Mutungi from Kyambogo University.

The team took a year to travel around the country, study other currency and develop the designs and colours for Uganda’s notes.

Beyond the artistic design, the notes also feature a number of security measures which making counterfeiting the notes challenging. Uganda was the first country in Africa to utilise SPARK, an optical security feature from SICPA.

The new notes came into circulation on 17th May 2010, the first new notes in twenty years. They were printed by British security printers De La Rue.

In 2011, the International Bank Note Society voted the 50,000 shilling note the ‘Bank Note of the Year’ for its intricate design, featuring images of the mountain gorillas, the Stride Monument, the Independence Monument, a Karamoja head dress and 2 shields.