Ghana Cedi, History and Denominations

The Ghanaian Cedi (symbol: GH₵; code: GHS) is the official currency of Ghana, a country located in West Africa. Introduced on July 19, 1965, the Cedi replaced the Ghanaian pound as a part of the country’s decimalization process. This change was significant as it marked Ghana’s departure from the colonial monetary system and the establishment of a more locally relevant and independent financial system. The name “Cedi” is derived from a local word “sedie” which means ‘cowry shell’, a historical form of currency in Ghana.

History of Ghana Cedi

The history of the Ghana Cedi is deeply intertwined with Ghana’s journey towards independence and economic autonomy. Prior to the Cedi, the Ghanaian pound, which was linked to the British pound sterling, was the official currency. With the attainment of independence in 1957, the need for a distinct national currency became apparent, leading to the introduction of the Cedi in 1965.

Since its inception, the Cedi has undergone several re-denominations and changes. The first Cedi (GHC) was used between 1965 and 2007. Due to high inflation and depreciation, a second Cedi (GH₵) was introduced in 2007 at a rate of 1 new Cedi = 1,000 old Cedis. This re-denomination was aimed at restoring confidence in the currency and simplifying financial transactions.

The Cedi has witnessed various phases of inflation and stabilization, reflecting Ghana’s economic challenges and growth. The currency’s value has been influenced by factors like political stability, economic policies, commodity prices (especially cocoa and gold, which are mainstays of Ghana’s economy), and global economic conditions.

Ghana Cedi Denominations and how they look like

The Ghanaian Cedi, with its various denominations, features distinctive designs and colors, each symbolizing different aspects of Ghana’s culture, history, and economy. Here’s a detailed look at the denominations and their appearances:


  • 1 Pesewa: The smallest denomination, often not widely used due to its low value. It typically features a national symbol or coat of arms.
  • 5 Pesewas: Slightly larger than the 1 pesewa, this coin might depict a national symbol or historical figure.
  • 10 Pesewas: This coin is distinguishable by its size and design, which may include cultural or national emblems.
  • 20 Pesewas: Larger than the 10 pesewas, it often features important national symbols or landmarks.
  • 50 Pesewas: The largest of the coins, it usually has intricate designs representing Ghana’s heritage or economy.


  • 1 Cedi: Often the smallest banknote, it is usually designed with a portrait of a significant Ghanaian figure and national symbols or landmarks on the reverse.
  • 2 Cedis: Slightly larger than the 1 Cedi note, it may feature a different color scheme and a different historical figure or national symbol.
  • 5 Cedis: A common denomination with unique coloration and imagery, possibly depicting Ghanaian culture, landscapes, or historical events.
  • 10 Cedis: This note typically has a distinct color and may feature important Ghanaian personalities and cultural or economic landmarks.
  • 20 Cedis: Larger and with a unique color scheme, it might highlight significant national achievements or figures.
  • 50 Cedis: One of the higher denominations, often showcasing major Ghanaian landmarks or figures on one side and cultural or economic symbols on the other.
  • 100 Cedis: Introduced in recent years, this note is designed to handle larger transactions and typically features modern and historical elements of Ghana.
  • 200 Cedis: The largest denomination, with elaborate designs signifying Ghana’s economic growth and cultural richness.

Each banknote is distinct in its color palette and design elements, helping in easy identification and reducing the risk of counterfeiting. The design intricacies serve as a testament to Ghana’s rich cultural tapestry, economic aspirations, and historical journey.

Written by GHCedi

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