The Ghanaian currency: the cedi

The currency of a country tells you a lot about a country. The Ghana cedi (currency sign: GH₵ and currency code: GHS) is the unit of currency of Ghana. Cedi means “cowry shell” in Akan. This shell was used as currency in Ghana. The cowry shell is not native to West African waters, but is common in the Indian Ocean. In the 14th century the cowry shells came to Ghana thru trade with Arab countries. Cowry shells, gold dust and coins were used as payment until 1901 in Ghana.

The first coin, as we know it, was introduced in 1796 in its present form. In 1965 the cedi was introduced to replace the British pound sterling.

2½, 5, 10, 20 and 50 pesewas: cocoa and Ghana

The 2½, 5, 10, 20 and 50 pesewas show cocoa fruits. When you think of Ghana, you think of cocoa and when you think of cocoa you think of Ghana. On one side of the coin it shows cocoa beans with a circle around it and the words GHANA * FREEDOM AND JUSTICE *. On the other side of the coin, in the middle, it shows a shield with a lion and St George’s Cross (continuous connection between Ghana and the Commonwealth of Nations). On the top left corner of the shield it shows a sword (used by chiefs) and a rod (used by linguist for ceremonial events). On the right top corner of the shield it shows a castle on top of the sea (the presidential palace). On the bottom left corner of the shield it shows a cocoa tree. On the bottom right of the shield it shows a gold mine (wealth of industrial materials and products).

1/2 and 2 pesewa: Adowa drums and five-pointed star

The Adowa drum is one of the traditional instruments of the Ewe tribes around the Volta and Western regions of Ghana. On one side of the coin you can see the Adowa Drums. The drum produces a distinctive and beautiful sound. It is played by hand. There are many different types of Adowa drums in Ghana. The drums are often hand carved with patterns and available in different sizes. GHANA * FREEDOM AND JUSTICE is displayed on the same side as the Adowa drums of the coin.

On the other side of the coin, you can see The Five-Pointed Star. The star is used a lot by different countries. For example on the flags of Europe and Vietnam. A black star is used on the Ghanaian flag. The black star was adopted from the flag of the Black Star Line, a shipping line incorporated by Marcus Garvey that operated from 1919 to 1922, and gives the Ghana national football team their nickname, the Black Stars. What does the star mean on the Pesewa coin? Please let us know via our Facebook page.

pesewa new cedi