Currency in Kenya


Kenyan currency is made up of shillings and cents. There are 100 cents to a shilling.

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In October of 1992 the US dollar was worth about 33 shillings. By February 1993, the US dollar was about 66 shillings. The prices in Kenya had practically doubled overnight. A loaf of bread in Chamasiri Village was 7 shillings when I arrived in late December 1992 and literally doubled overnight to about 15 shillings in February 1993. The US government told Kenya to devalue their shilling if they wanted foreign aid. So they did.

Some other interesting prices...
Beer 500ml (approx 16 ounces) was 25 shillings including 5 shilling deposit.
Soda 300ml (approx 12 ounces) was 15 shillings including 5 shilling deposit.
Sugar 1 kilogram (approx 2.2 pounds) was 30 shillings.
Bananas about 1 or 2 shillings a piece.
Tomatoes about 2 shillings a piece.
Flour (approx 5 pounds) 50 shillings.

The coins are in proportion with themselves and the notes are also in proportion with themselves. The coins are larger proportionally than the notes so you could see the coins better. This currency was used in the early 1990s when I was living in Kenya. In the mid 90s the currency went through a major change - the 10 and 20 shilling banknotes became bimetal coins. The 5 shilling coin is no longer a septagon, but a bimetal coin. The 50 cent and one shilling coins are now smaller sized brass colored coins.



Ten Cent Coin Jomo Kenyatta 10 cent piece
One Shilling Coin One of the first Jomo Kenyatta shillings - 1966
One Shilling Coin Jomo Kenyatta 1 shilling piece
Five Cent Coin Daniel arap Moi 5 cent piece
Ten Cent Coin Daniel arap Moi 10 cent piece
Fifty Cent Coin Daniel arap Moi 50 cent piece
One Shilling Coin Daniel arap Moi 1 shilling piece
Five Shilling Coin Daniel arap Moi 5 shilling piece
Twenty Shilling Banknote - front Twenty Shilling Banknote - back Jomo Kenyatta 20 shilling note.
I received this note back as change. These notes went out of circulation when Daniel arap Moi took office after Jomo Kenyatta's death. All the Kenyatta notes were collected and replaced with Moi notes. This note was probably saved as a souvenir until inflation hit the country and prices doubled over night.
Ten Shilling Banknote - front Ten Shilling Banknote - back Daniel arap Moi 10 shilling note
Twenty Shilling Banknote - front Twenty Shilling Banknote - back Daniel arap Moi 20 shilling note
Twenty Shilling Banknote - front Twenty Shilling Banknote - back Daniel arap Moi 20 shilling note. This is what most notes look like in Kenya - well worn.


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The content on AllThingsKenyan.com was written about my experiences in Kenya in the early 1990's therefore some articles may seem out of date. They are left here for historical reasons.

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M. E. Wood, writer