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East Africa

East Africa is the African eastern subregion that includes Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Geographically, East Africa also included Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea.

The region’s favorable geography and agricultural potential attracted European exploration and colonization in the 19th century. Today, tourism is a significant contributor to the economies of Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, and Uganda.  

The easternmost point of Africa, Ras Hafun in Somalia, holds archaeological, historical, and economic significance. However, trade and investment barriers, along with rapid population growth, particularly among the youth, hinder economic integration and poverty reduction. Additionally, poor infrastructure, power shortages, low agricultural productivity, weak governance, and limited market competitiveness constrain economic growth in the region.

The East African shilling was the currency in British-controlled East Africa from 1921-1969, with 20 shillings equaling 1 pound. The East African Community plans to introduce a common currency with the same name. Banknotes featured shilling denominations in English, Arabic, and Gujarati, and pound values in English.

 During World War II, shilling banknotes were introduced due to the increased cost of silver. Denominations of 5, 10, 20, 100, 1000, and 10,000 shillings were printed, imprinted with Sterling pound values and Arabic and English numerals. After the war, cupro-nickel replaced silver in one shilling and 50 cent coins. The East African shilling replaced the Lira in Italian East Africa after Britain's 1941 takeover. The phrase "REX ET IND:IMP" was omitted from new currency after India's independence in 1947. When King George VI passed away during Princess Elizabeth's tour in February 1952, new coins and notes featured her image, and a second series of banknotes without pound conversions were designed in 1958.

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