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Reserve Bank of Malawi set to circulate new K1,000 banknote

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The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has announced the introduction of a new K1,000 banknote, which according to the bank’s governor Wilson Banda will be released into circulation on February 1 2021 replacing the current note which was introduced in May 2012.

The two banknotes will circulate concurrently until the old one is gradually phased out.

Addressing the press in Blantyre Friday, Banda said the new note will have enhanced security features to curb production of counterfeits.

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According to the RBM, higher denomination notes have in recent times been targeted by counterfeiters in Malawi.

Like many countries, Malawi has had its share of counterfeit money, with the RBM saying counterfeiters usually target high denomination banknotes (K1,000 and K2,000) because of the value.

“For example, 99% percent of counterfeit banknotes discovered this year have either been K1,000 or K2,000 banknotes, this is why we always try to strengthen the security features of our high value banknote denominations so as to preserve their integrity and confidence among the public,” Banda said.

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He said the upgraded K1,000 will only be released into circulation next year to allow the public to get to know its security features.

“Since its introduction, there have been a number of developments in the currency industry that have necessitated an upgrade of some of the features of the K1,000 banknote, this upgrade therefore is in terms of enhancement of security features, which has been done in order to ensure that the banknote (K1,000) remains secure,” Banda said.

He then announced a public sensitisation campaign to inform people across the country on the new development.

Among other things, the new banknote has an image of a fish that changes colours from brown to green when it is tilted, called a spark live feature which is also on the K2,000 note.

RBM said counterfeiters that have tried to copy the K2,000 banknote have been unsuccessful to produce the colour changing fish feature thus far.

The new banknote also has a different security thread from the one in circulation now, apart from other features that will aid people with visual impairments.

Meanwhile, the bank has said the new changes are not politically motivated.

“We are not responding to any political developments in the country,” RBM’s Director of Currency Management Joseph Milner said.

RBM has not yet divulged how much money it has used to print and introduce the new banknote but Milner says the bank usually spends about K15 billion to replace currency .

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