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The Sudanese pound (Arabic: جنيه سوداني Junaih Sudani) is the basic unit of the Republic of the Sudan. The pound consists of 100 piasters. The pound is issued by the Central Bank of Sudan. Its value is linked to gold and convertible into foreign currencies. There are no restrictions on money transfers to and from Sudan. The Sudanese pound is equivalent to $0.021. It has been pegged to the United States dollar since around 1984.
The pound fell for the first time since 1997 after the United States imposed economic sanctions on Sudan. The Sudanese pound continued its decline to an unprecedented number, falling to 53 pounds against the dollar. This situation, which drained all economic measures, led to heavy losses in the external repercussions of the Sudan as a whole, in the light of the government cut, interrupted by some of the failed actions announced by the Central Bank of Sudan, a severe shortage of liquidity.
The Sudanese pound fell against the US dollar after the Central Bank of Sudan announced the lifting of the cash reserve to counter inflation. Since the Secession of South Sudan in 2011, Sudan has suffered from a scarcity of foreign exchange for the loss of three quarters of its oil resources and 80% of foreign exchange resources. The Sudanese government quoted the official price of the dollar from 6.09 pounds to 18.07 pounds in the budget of 2018.
First pound (SDP)
The first pound to circulate in Sudan was the Egyptian pound. The late 19th-century rebels Muhammad ibn Abdalla (the Mahdi) and Abdallahi ibn Muhammad (the Khalifa) both issued coins which circulated alongside the Egyptian currency. When Anglo-Egyptian rule in Sudan ceased on January 1, 1956 and Sudan became an independent country, a distinct Sudanese currency (the Sudanese pound) was created, replacing the Egyptian pound at par.
The Egyptian pound was subdivided into 100 qirush (Arabic: قروش, singular qirsh, قرش, English: piastre). The qirsh used to be subdivided into 40 para, but decimalisation following the 1886 Egyptian currency reform established a 1/10 qirsh, which came to be known as a millim (ملّيمات, singular: ملّيم). Due to this legacy, the post 1956 Sudanese pound was divided into 100 qirush, subdivided into 10 millims.
During 1958-1978 the pound was pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of $2.87156 per Sudanese pound. Thereafter, the pound underwent successive devaluations.
The pound was replaced in 1992 by the dinar (SDD) at a rate of 1 dinar = 10 pounds. While the dinar circulated in northern Sudan, in Southern Sudan, prices were still negotiated in pounds, whilst in Rumbek and Yei, the Kenyan shilling was used and accepted more within the transport sectors as well as for hotels/accommodation.
Second pound (SDG)
According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the government of the Republic of the Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, the Central Bank of Sudan (CBOS) shall adopt a program to issue a new currency as soon as is practical during the Interim Period. The design of the new currency shall reflect the cultural diversity of Sudan. Until a new currency has been issued with the approval of the Parties on the recommendations of the CBOS, the circulating currencies in Southern Sudan shall be recognised. The second pound began introduction on 9 or 10 January 2007, and became the only legal tender as of July 1, 2007. It replaced the dinar at a rate of 1 pound = 100 dinars or 1 pound (SDG) = 1000 pounds (SDP).
For a wider history surrounding currency in the region, see The History of British Currency in the Middle East.
Local coinage in Sudan: issues of the Mahdi and Khalifa and of Darfur
In 1885, the Mahdi issued silver coins for 10 and 20 qirush and gold 100 qirush. These were followed by issues of the Khalifa in denominations of 10 para, 1, 2, 2½, 4, 5, 10 and 20 qirush. These coins were initially minted in silver in 1885. Over the following eleven years, severe debasement occurred, leading to billon, then silver-washed copper and finally copper coins being issued. The coinage ceased in 1897.
During 1908-1914, a local coinage was issued in Darfur in western Sudan. These were issued under the authority of Ali Dinar and resembled contemporary Egyptian coins.
In 1956, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10 millim, 2, 5 and 10 qirush. The millim denominations were struck in bronze, whilst the qirush denominations were in cupro-nickel. The 2, 5 and 10 millim were scallop shaped, although a round 5 millim was introduced in 1971. The 1 and 2 millim were last struck in 1969, the last 5 millim in 1978. In 1983, brass 1, 2 and 5 qirush, a reduced size 10 qirush and a cupro-nickel 20 qirush were introduced. In 1987, aluminium-bronze 1, 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50 qirush and 1 pound were introduced, with the 25 and 50 qirush square and octagonal in shape, respectively. In 1989, stainless-steel 25 and 50 qirush and 1 pound were issued. This is the general pattern, in addition to these coins there are collector-oriented issues and various oddities. See popular coin catalogues for details.
See Sudanese dinar.
Coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 qirush were introduced alongside the circulating dinar coins. The Central Bank of Sudan states that the 5 qirush coins are yellow coloured (perhaps aluminium-bronze) and the 10 qirush is silver coloured (made of stainless steel). The 20 and 50 qirush coins are bi-metallic, with the 20 qirush yellow ringed with a silver coloured centre and the 50 qirush the opposite.
In April 1957, the Sudan Currency Board introduced notes for 25 and 50 piastres, 1, 5 and 10 pounds. Note production was taken over by the Bank of Sudan in 1961. 20-pound notes were introduced in 1981, followed by 50 pounds in 1984 and 100 pounds in 1988. .
Questionable new notes
In 2005, the National Public Radio of the United States reported that forces in Southern Sudan were printing pound notes bearing the name "Bank of New Sudan", but there is no such bank. In addition, numbers of the banknotes had duplicate serial numbers. Their legitimacy is questionable.
When introduced on 10 January 2007, the second Sudanese pound replaced the Sudanese dinar at a rate of 1:100. This new currency was mandated by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to end the country’s 21- year civil war. Deputy Governor Badr-Eddin Mahmoud said the cost to print the new currency was US$156 million. Banknotes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 pounds were issued. The 1-pound note was replaced by a coin at the end of November 2011.
Banknotes of the third pound are similar in style to those of the second pound but with changes in colour scheme, the removal of certain symbols associated with the south and a redrawn map of the country after the secession of the south.
On 1 January 2019, the Central Bank of Sudan announced Sudanese pound banknotes of 100, 200 and 500 will be released this month as the country grapples with a severe economic crisis and cash shortage.
A new 500 Sudanese pounds banknote dated March 2019 was issued in 2019.