Ghanaian cedi

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Ghanaian cedi
Cedi banknotes
ISO 4217
CodeGHS (numeric: 936)
SymbolGH₵‎ (also often GH¢)
BanknotesGH₵1, GH₵2, GH₵5, GH₵10, GH₵20, GH₵50, GH₵100, GH₵200
Coins1Gp, 5Gp, 10Gp, 20Gp, 50Gp, GH₵1, GH₵2
User(s) Ghana
Central bankBank of Ghana
 SourceGhana Statistical Service

The cedi (/ˈsd/ SEE-dee, pronounced in the same way as CD) (currency sign: GH₵; currency code: GHS) is the unit of currency of Ghana. It is the fourth historical and only current legal tender in the Republic of Ghana. One Cedi is divided into one hundred Pesewas (Gp).

After 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. Ghana's first President Kwame Nkrumah introduced Cedi notes and Pesewa coins in July 1965 to replace the Ghanaian pounds, shillings and pence. The Cedi bore the portrait of the President and was equivalent to eight shillings and four pence (8s 4d), i.e. one hundred old pence, so that 1 pesewa was equal to one penny.

After the February 1966 military coup, the new leaders wanted to remove the face of Nkrumah from the banknotes. The "new Cedi" (1967–2007) was worth 1.2 Cedis, which made it equal to half of a pound sterling (or ten shillings sterling) at its introduction. Decades of high inflation devalued the new Cedi, so that in 2007 the largest of the "new cedi" banknotes, the 20,000 note, had a value of about US$2. The new cedi was gradually phased out in 2007 in favor of the "Ghana Cedi" at an exchange rate of 1:10,000. By removing four digits, the Ghana Cedi became the highest-denominated currency unit issued in Africa. It has since lost over 90% of its value.


Cedi with a cowry

The word cedi is the Akan word for cowry shell. Cowries (plural of cowry) 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 first modern coins exclusively used at the Gold Coast were produced in 1796 but cowries were used alongside coins and gold as currency until 1901.[1]


First cedi, 1965–1967[edit]

First cedi
Preceded by:
Ghanaian pound
Reason: decimalisation
Ratio: 2.4 first cedi = 1 pound, 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 sterling at a rate of 2.4 cedis = £1, or 8s 4d per cedi.

Second cedi (GHC), 1967–2007[edit]

Second cedi (New 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 = 10 shillings
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 sterling at a rate of ₵2 = £1. However, within months, the second cedi was devalued to a rate of ₵2.45 = £1, less than the initial value of the first cedi. This rate was equivalent to ₵1 = 0.98 U.S. dollars and the rate to the dollar was maintained when sterling 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.

The cedi's value continued to be eaten away on the black market. In the early 1980s, the government started cracking down hard on the retail of products at prices other than the official established sale price (also known as 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 the exchange rate chart) until by July 2007, one US dollar was worth about ₵9500, 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 ones at a rate of 10 old notes for 7 new ones. 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 Ghanaians to lose their faith in their country's 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 barter.

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 until 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–present[edit]

Third cedi (Ghanaian 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 switching to the third cedi. The new currency was not introduced as the third cedi but is instead officially called the "Ghanaian cedi" (GH₵), 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 was 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 were 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 coincided 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]

Due to periods of "sustained high inflation" and "perennial depreciation of the currency", the Bank of Ghana on 29 November 2019, announced the issuance of a new 2-cedi coin and as well as new 100 and 200-cedi banknotes. Existing 1 and 2 cedi banknotes remain legal tender, though these denominations will be gradually replaced by coins to reduce costs.

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

Due to its negligible purchasing power, the one pesewa coin is rarely seen in circulation. In September 2021, the Bank of Ghana began the process of withdrawing GH₵1 and GH₵2 notes from circulation to encourage the use of coins of their corresponding face values.[8][9]

In August 2022, accelerating inflation and continued economic mismanagement has caused the cedi's value to drop to 10 U.S. cents (GH₵10 = US$1).[10] As of September 2022, the annual inflation rate of 37.2% as reported by the Ghana Statistical Service was the highest since 2001.[11]

By October 2022, the cedi became the world's worst performing currency, having lost 60% of its value relative to the U.S. dollar since the end of 2021.[12] The exchange rate as of 24 October 2022 was about GH₵15 per U.S. dollar.[13][14]


The Bank of Ghana has been issuing all Ghanaian coins since 1958.[15] Beside the coins in general circulation the bank has also issued commemorative coins.[16] These special coins have been issued in shillings (1958), crowns (1965), pounds (1958–1977), sikas (1997–2003) and cedis (2013–).[17] 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.[18]

Only coins that have been or are in general circulation are included in this list. The years of issue does not indicate 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.

First cedi (1965–67)[edit]

First cedi
(Legal tender: 1965–67)
Image Value Description Date of issue
Obverse & Reverse Obverse Reverse Metal Weight Diameter Edge
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 3.2 g 20 mm Milled
25 pesewas 8.65 g 27.4 mm
50 pesewas 13.9 g 32 mm Reeded

Second cedi[edit]

Second cedi
(Legal tender: 1967–2007)
Image Value Description Years of issue
Obverse & Reverse Obverse Reverse Metal Weight Diameter Edge
12 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 pesewa 5.72 g 25.47 mm 1967–1979
2+12 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 2.85 g 19 mm Reeded 1967–1975
10 pesewas 5.6 g 23.5 mm 1967–1979
20 pesewas 11.2 g 28 mm
50 pesewas 12.5 g 32 mm Milled 1979
1 cedi Cowry shell
Brass 11.9 g 30 mm Smooth

Third cedi[edit]

The new coins are 1 pesewa (100 old cedi), 5 pesewas (500), 10 pesewas (1,000), 20 pesewas (2,000), 50 pesewas (5,000), 1 cedi (10,000) and 2 cedis (20,000).[19]


The Bank of Ghana has been issuing all Ghanaian banknotes since 1958.[20][21] Most of the Ghanaian banknotes have been changed slightly from one year's issue to the next year's issue in the ongoing technological fight against counterfeit money. The signature on the notes also changes when a new governor takes over the management of the Bank of Ghana.[22] Such changes are frequent and are not covered in this list. The years of issue do not indicate that the series has been printed every year in the period, but that the banknote has been issued more than once in the given period.

First cedi (1965–67)[edit]

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

Second cedi (1967–2007)[edit]

1967 to 1979[edit]

Second cedi – 1st series
(Legal tender: 1967–79)
Image Value Description Years of issue
Obverse & Reverse Obverse Reverse
1 cedi Cocoa Shield and sword 1967–1971
5 cedis Fauna carvings Fauna carvings 1967–1969
10 cedis Art projects Statuettes 1967–1970
Second cedi – 2nd series
(Legal tender: 1972–79)
Image Value Description Years of issue
Obverse & Reverse Obverse Reverse
1 cedi Young girl Cocoa farmer 1973–1978
2 cedis Farmer Fishermen 1972–78
5 cedis Woman Larabanga mosque 1973–1978
10 cedis Pipe smoker Akosombo Dam

1979 to 2007[edit]

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

Third cedi (2007–present)[edit]

Third cedi
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description First issued
Obverse & Reverse Obverse Reverse
1 cedi 137 × 65 mm Red The Big Six, Black Star Gate Akosombo Dam 3 July 2007
2 cedis 140 × 67 mm Beige Kwame Nkrumah Parliament House 14 May 2010
5 cedis 141 × 68 mm Blue The Big Six, Black Star Gate University of Ghana, The Balme Library 3 July 2007
5 cedis 147 × 68 mm Blue James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey Kwame Nkrumah vessel in Tweneboa, Enyenra, and Ntomme oil fields 7 March 2017 (commemorative issue)
4 August 2017 (regular issue)
10 cedis 145 × 71 mm Yellow-green The Big Six, Black Star Gate Bank of Ghana 3 July 2007
20 cedis 149 × 74 mm Purple Supreme Court
50 cedis 153 × 77 mm Brown Christiansborg Castle
100 cedis 157 x 80 mm Cyan The Big Six, Black Star Gate Interior of the Parliament of Ghana 2 December 2019
200 cedis 161 x 83 mm Orange The Big Six, Black Star Gate Jubilee House 2 December 2019

Exchange rate history[edit]

Historical values of one U.S. dollar in Ghanaian cedis
Date Cedi per U.S$. Date Cedi per U.S$.
First cedi (Cedi)
1965 0.824 1967 0.714
Second cedi (New cedi)
1970s ~1.000 (0.833 to 1.111) 1980 2.80 Bank rate
(~20 Black market)
1983 30.00 Bank rate
(~120 Black market) (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 9300–9600
Ghana Cedi (Third cedi)[23]
Year January 1 May 1 September 1 October 1
2008 0.930 1.005 1.155 1.159
2009 1.265 1.460 1.465 0.688
2010 1.430 1.425 1.440 1.429
2011 1.486 1.496 1.535 1.597
2012 1.639 1.855 1.932 1.893
2013 1.905 1.974 2.150 2.179
2014 2.353 2.823 3.723 3.219
2015 3.215 3.847 3.831 3.780
2016 3.809 3.789 3.963 3.963
2022 6.200 7.550 10.05 13.100
2023 11.000 12.100[24] 14.01 15.243
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[edit]


  1. ^ "Cowrie shells and the slave trade". British Museum. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Metal cedis and pesewas – modern coins of Ghana". Archived from the original on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Don't Give Out Change In Old notes, Coins". Modern Ghana. 19 December 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Time Out For Old Cedi Notes". Modern Ghana. 31 December 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  5. ^ "Ghana new 2-cedi note confirmedn". Banknote News. 23 July 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  6. ^ "Ghana Cedi at risk of sliding to 4 per Dollar, HFC says". Starrf. 5 July 2014. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  7. ^ "IMF bail out is to stabilize the cedi". B&FT. 3 August 2014. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Bank of Ghana to phase out GH¢1 and GH¢2 notes soon". Citinewsroom – Comprehensive News in Ghana. 27 September 2021. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  9. ^ "GH¢1 and GH¢2 coins won't suffer fate of 1 pesewa coin – Financial Expert assures". GhanaWeb. 29 September 2021. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  10. ^ "We're already 'Breaking the 10'; the dollar is over-speeding – Dr. Otchere-Ankrah 'shades' NPP". GhanaWeb. 18 August 2022. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  11. ^ "CORRECTED-Ghana consumer inflation rises to 37.2% in September, statistics service says". Reuters. 12 October 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  12. ^ Munshi, Neil; Dontoh, Ekow; Gokoluk, Selcuk; Monteiro, Ana (8 December 2022). "Emerging-Market Debt Is Sliding Into Distress. Just Look at Ghana". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  13. ^ AfricaNews (18 October 2022). "Ghana's cedi now the world's worst-performing currency as Kenya's shilling also struggles". Africanews. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  14. ^ "$1 now ¢15.20; rate of depreciation to pound, euro slow down –". 24 October 2022. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  15. ^ "Bank of Ghana – A brief historical background". Bank of Ghana. Archived from the original on 2 September 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  16. ^ "Ghana coins". Numista. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  17. ^ George S. Cuhaj; Thomas Michael (15 September 2011). Unusual World Coins. Krause Publications. pp. 262–264. ISBN 978-1-4402-1712-8.
  18. ^ "Ghanaian gold coins". Tax Free Gold. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  19. ^ "Ghana's 1 Pesewa Seldom Seen". 22 March 2011. Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  20. ^ "Banknotes of Ghana". Bank of Ghana. Archived from the original on 5 January 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  21. ^ "Bank Og Ghana issued banknotes". The Banknote Museum. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  22. ^ "Banknot News page about Ghana". Banknote News. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  23. ^ "United States dollar (USD) and Ghana cedi (GHS) Exchange Rate History". Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  24. ^ "US Dollar to Ghanaian Cedi Exchange Rate for 2nd May 2023 ($1 = Ghs12.10)". Ghana Education News. 2 May 2023. Retrieved 17 August 2023.

External links[edit]