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African Currencies: Where and Who prints them?

According to the Deutsche Welle Media Company, at least 40 African countries print their money in the UK, France, and Germany.

It is perhaps surprising that almost all African countries import their currencies. The practice could even raise questions of national pride and national security.

Only a handful of African countries print their own banknotes

The top firms that benefit from the cross-continental currency printing business are:

De La Rue (England)

De La Rue plc is a British company headquartered in Basingstoke - England, that designs and produces banknotes, secure polymer substrate, and banknote security features for central banks and currency-issuing authorities. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange (DLAR).

African Countries that print their currencies at De La Rue are:

  • Ethiopia,

  • Libya,

  • Angola

  • Ghana

  • Kenya

  • Mozambique

Crane (Sweden)

Crane Currency, a Crane Co. company, is a fully integrated supplier of secure, durable, and well-designed banknotes for central banks all over the world.

African Countries that print their currencies at Crane Currency are:

Giesecke+Devrient (Germany)

Hermann Giesecke and Alphonse Devrient founded Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) in Leipzig in 1852. The company specialized in printing banknotes. After their property in Leipzig was expropriated in 1948, and following the firm’s subsequent re-establishment in Munich, Siegfried Otto developed the company into an international technology group.

African Countries that print their currencies at Giesecke+Devrient are:
  • South Sudan,

  • Tanzania

  • Mauritania

Oberthur Fiduciaire (France)

Oberthur Fiduciaire is one of the world’s largest private security printers. Oberthur Fiduciaire, formerly François-Charles Oberthur (FCO) is a French group that specialized in the printing of secure documents and banknotes. It was created in 1984 by Jean-Pierre Savare when he bought for a symbolic franc the fiduciary activity of the Oberthur printing company, which had been closed in 1983.

African Countries that print their currencies at Oberthur Fiduciaire are:
  • French-speaking African Countries



The Nigerian currency is printed at and by "The Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Limited PLC"

South Africa

The South African currency is printed at and by the "South African Bank Note Company (RF) (Pty) Ltd"


The Ugandan currency is printed at and by the "Bank of Uganda"


The Tunisian currency is printed at and by the "Central Bank of Tunisia"


The Egyptian currency is printed at and by "The Printing House of the Central Bank of Egypt"


When a country's currency isn't in high demand — and isn't utilized globally like the US dollar or the British pound — it makes little financial sense to create it at home, according to Mrs. Amara Ekeruche of the African Center for Economic Research. "Why would a country pay more costs to manufacture a banknote for €10 at home when it can print it for around €8 abroad?

While it may appear strange, economists believe that African countries producing a large portion of their currency abroad is not uncommon.

Only a few countries, such as the United States and India, produce their own currencies. "This is due to trust concerns between the countries," said Emmanuel Asiedu-Mante, former deputy chief of the Ghanaian central bank, "as well as the fact that many people have been printing for years with foreign companies."

Some countries, such as Liberia, do not seek to manufacture their own currency because they lack access to a printing press, which is expensive to set up and requires specialized technical skills.

With officials from The Gambia's central bank suggesting a possible relationship with Nigeria, countries may begin to look inwards for currency orders. And, because countries typically require millions of notes to be shipped in containers, they must pay exorbitant shipping costs.

African governments are putting together measures to increase intra-African commerce. Printing banknotes in Africa would increase revenues on the continent, and African governments might, at least theoretically, choose those with printing capability because there is certainly some idle capacity.

In 2018, a Ghanaian central bank official complained to local newspapers that the country spends a lot of money on its Ghanaian cedi orders in the United Kingdom.

Still, there's reason to believe that change is on the way.

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