What is 'UGX (Ugandan Shilling)'

UGX is the currency abbreviation for the Ugandan shilling, the currency for Uganda. The Ugandan shilling is made up of 100 cents and is often presented with the symbol USh. Even though the shilling is made up cents, no subdivisions have been used since the currency was revalued in 1987.

BREAKING DOWN 'UGX (Ugandan Shilling)'

UGX is the abbreviation for the unit of currency used in the African country of Uganda. The Ugandan shilling, or UGS, was first introduced in 1966 and replaced the East African shilling at par. Up until that point, monetary affairs management for Uganda was a responsibility of the East African Currency Board. The BoU Act created the Bank of Uganda in 1966, leading to the first introduction of the country’s official currency that same year.

Following its initial release, the currency of Uganda changed several times as a result in government regime transitions. The currency launched in the most recent reissue in 1987 has also seen several updates designed to reduce counterfeiting and improve security.

The Bank of Uganda is the only entity with the right to mint, distribute or destroy currency in Uganda. Bank notes are currently available in UGX denominations of 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000; 20,000 and 50,000. Coins are available in UGX denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000.

Although the new shilling is a very stable currency and is used in most transactions in Uganda, the U.S. dollar (USD), Great Britain pound (GPB) and the euro (EUR) are also widely used.

UGX and the economy of Uganda

Long plagued by periods of severe poverty, Uganda has seen significant economic progress in recent years. During the time of economic challenges, the currency system felt an impact. After many years of high inflation, the value of the shilling had decreased to a point at which it was necessary to introduce the new shilling in force today (UGX). The new shilling replaced the old at a rate of 100:1.

Uganda is a country with a highly diverse population consisted of dozens of individual ethnic groups. It boasts fertile land that is rich with natural resources. This may explain why it was dubbed “the pearl of Africa” by Winston Churchill after he visited the region while the country was under British rule. It is not surprising that the nation’s economy is primarily based on agriculture. In May 2010, an updated series of banknotes was released that included the UGX 2,000 denomination featuring the themes “Gifted by Nature” and "Uganda Through the Times.”

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