Egypt releases its first polymer-made banknote

Doaa A.Moneim , Wednesday 6 Jul 2022

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) released on Monday the country’s first plastic polymer-made banknote in the denomination of EGP 10, which has begun circulating in the local market.

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A CBE official said that the bank released EGP 2 billion of the new plastic banknote.

The CBE announced that it would be adopting plastic banknotes back in February 2019, with the plan at the time being to release these new banknotes by 2020 and that they would be produced by a new printing house located in the New Administrative Capital (NAC). However, the step was delayed due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CBE stressed that the new polymer banknote will not replace the normal banknotes, which will still be traded.

“The measure comes under the CBE’s clean cash policy, which aims to uplift the quality of the outstanding banknote in the local market as well as reducing the cost of printing the older ones — especially the most actively traded — over the long term,” CBE explained.

The new polymer banknote has a modern-pharaonic design with a watermark for safe circulation. It is decorated with the design of El-Fattah El-Aleem Mosque — which is located in the New Administrative Capital — and a statue of ancient Egyptian queen Hatshepsut, the fifth pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt.

As countries worldwide, including Egypt, are committed to meeting the Paris Agreement’s requirements to combat climate change, shifting to plastic currencies has become a global trend.

“For countries concerned about the environmental impact of their currency, a switch to polymer notes makes sense,” according to a report issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on plastic currencies.

Modern polymer banknotes were first produced by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and The University of Melbourne.
They were issued for the first time and circulated as official currency in Australia in 1988.

By 1996, all Australian banknote denominations were in polymer, followed by New Zealand and Romania.

Since 2016, the Bank of England also started to produce polymer banknotes, rolling out the £5, followed by the £10 in 2017, and the £20 in 2020.

According to the Bank of England, plastic is more durable and stronger than paper, and plastic banknotes could last five years compared to the paper banknotes that last for only two years.

Kusters Engineering — a Dutch family-owned company that provides smart, innovative, and secure solutions for optimal reuse of valuable materials for green transformation — says that polymer currencies are waterproof, dirt proof, recyclable, can stay in circulation for a longer time, and boast high-tech security features.

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