Kenya has fired a direct shot at the nation’s endemic corruption: by issuing a new generation of banknotes.
In a surprise move, the government announced the 1,000 shillings ($10) note will be discontinued by October 1 in a bid to fight corruption, counterfeit, and money laundering. Central bank governor Patrick Njoroge said people who want to exchange amounts between 1 million and 5 million shillings will have to go to their banks to do that.
Those who don’t have a bank account will need to contact the central bank and will be directed to a local bank after providing sufficient identification and confirmation that the cash belongs to them. Those with more 5 million shillings in cash will also have to contact bank officials.
Apart from the Sh1,000 notes, there’s no deadline attached to the other newly-introduced denominations. CB said there were over 217 million pieces of 1,000 shillings currently in circulation.
Njoroge said the 1,000, which is the largest currency bill, was being used for illicit financial flows and forgery in Kenya and other neighboring states—a simmering time bomb threatening the East African nation’s place as a regional financial hub.
“These are grave concerns that would jeopardize proper transactions and the conduct of commerce in our currency,” he said during celebrations on June 1 to mark 56 years of attaining self-governance from Britain.