Mauritania revamps its currency


As of 1 January 2018, Mauritania is using a new series of polymer bills, and the currency was redenominated with 10 ouguiyas becoming one ouguiya. President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz announced the decision on 28 November on the occasion of Mauritania’s National Day. The measure aims to help the ouguiya “resume its place in financial transactions, to protect the public’s purchasing power and to reduce the amount of currency in circulation.” According to a statement from the Central Bank of Mauritania, the value of the ouguiya will remain unchanged. However, many citizens expressed concern about losing purchasing power fearing a hidden devaluation. Since the announcement, a large number of people have been queuing in front of bank offices in order to change their savings against dollars and euros, and the ouguiya has lost ground against the US dollar and the euro on the black market. The former banknotes and coins will be progressively withdrawn and replaced until the end of June 2018. The process is starting with the 5 000 banknote, which will already be phased out by end January. The ouguiya was initially introduced in 1973, replacing the CFA franc. The last currency overhaul was in 2004.