The Republic of Uganda is located in the African Great Lakes region in East Africa with its southern end taking a substantial part of Lake Victoria. The landlocked country is bordered by Kenya, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania. From 1894, the country was a British protectorate until it gained its independence on October 9, 1962. The country has sizable natural resources such as fertile lands, steady rainfall, reserves of gold and other minerals. Its agricultural sector gives jobs to about 80% of the country’s workforce, making it the most important industry of Uganda’s economy.
In 1986, the country initiated reforms to stabilize the economy. With aid from foreign nations and global agencies, Uganda started a currency reform by increasing prices on the production of export crops, petroleum goods, and upgrading civil service wages. The reform was aimed to improve production and export revenues as well as moderate inflation.
Starting in 1990, economic reforms have paved the way for strong economic growth relying on consistent funding in infrastructure, enhanced social security, and improved production and exports incentives. The return of Indian-Ugandan entrepreneurs has also contributed to economic growth. In 2007, the country was a beneficiary of the Millennium Challenge Account Threshold Program, receiving $10 million. However, the global recession has impacted the nation’s exports. Despite the downturn, it still has a strong growth in GDP because of its effective management of the economic crisis. In 2011, the Ugandan economy was impacted by the downturn of South Sudan’s economy which is Uganda’s primary export partner.
The Ugandan shilling is the country’s official currency which was divided into 100 cents until 2013. To date, the monetary unit is no longer subdivided. It was introduced in 1966, replacing the East African shilling at the same rate. The first set of Ugandan shilling banknotes issued by the Bank of Uganda was released in 1966 in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 100 shillings. These paper bills portray the national emblem.
In 1987, the old Ugandan shilling was revalued and replaced by the new Ugandan shilling because of high inflation rates. A set of notes was issued with a unified obverse design reflecting the country’s coat of arms, the outline map of Uganda, and the bank emblem.
The latest version of Ugandan shilling banknotes features a harmonized design highlighting Uganda’s history, natural attractions, and cultural heritage, and showcasing Uganda mat patterns, basketry, the map of Uganda, the Independence monument, and profile of a man wearing Karamojong headdress. These notes have enhanced security features such as color-shifting security threads with demetalized text and SPARK feature.