What is the UGX (Ugandan Shilling)

Ugandan shilling (UGX) is the currency abbreviation for the Ugandan shilling, the national currency for the Republic of Uganda. Up until 2013, the Ugandan shilling had a 100 cents division. The symbol USh often represents the currency. Revaluation of the money happened in 1987.​​​​​​​

BREAKING DOWN UGX (Ugandan Shilling)

Ugandan shilling (UGX) is the foreign exchange​​​​​​​ (FX) abbreviation for the unit of currency of the Republic of Uganda. Uganda is a landlocked nation in East Africa in a region known as the African Great Lakes region. The country has a highly diverse population consisting of dozens of individual ethnic groups. It boasts fertile land which is rich in natural resources. This lush landscape 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 has a primary basis on agriculture.

The area was a British protectorate between 1894 and 1962 when they gained independence. Following independence, the nation experienced a time of civil war and other conflicts including a six-year guerrilla war. These conflicts caused many deaths. Disagreement between tribal groups within the government and the vast regional Buganda kingdom have marred the early years of independence. This instability within the government led to a military coup in 1971 led by General Idi Amin. Amin's dictatorship carried out mass murders, and many fled the country.

The restoration of legal rule came in 1979 when neighboring Tanzania assisted exiles in overthrowing the dictator. Ongoing party disputes within the nation's governmental structure and corruption have continued to handcuff the country's growth. In 2012, the EU, Germany, United Kingdom and other countries removed aid to Uganda after the embezzlement of $12.6 million in donated funds meant to help the nation's most impoverished region. Also, many nations condemn to Uganda's poor record on human rights, torture, and child labor practices. 

Agriculture is the most significant economic earner for Uganda with coffee being a primary crop and most of the population being subsistence farmers. The country has oil and gas resources, but they contribute little to the economy. The people of Uganda is one of the poorest in the world which has led to under education.

According to World Bank data, Uganda is a heavily indebted country. Currently, the country experiences a 6.0% annual inflation rate and has a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of a 4.0%, as of 2017, which is the most current year of available data.

Circulation of the Uganda Shilling

In the beginning, the East African Currency Board handled monetary policy for the nation. With the creation of the Bank of Uganda (BoU) in 1966, financial decisions transferred to the new central bank, and the nation introduced the country’s first official currency. The Bank of Uganda is the only entity with the right to mint, distribute, or destroy currency in Uganda. Coins have denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings, while banknotes have denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000 shillings. 

The first issue Ugandan shilling (UGS), was introduced in 1966 and replaced the East African shilling at par. Following its initial release, inflation and government regime transitions forced several changes in the Uganda Shilling. In 1987, the government issued a new shilling which received the currency symbol of UGX. The old shilling exchanged at 100 for a single new shilling. 

In 2010, the Bank of Uganda circulated an issue of shilling banknotes which have enhanced security features and have images depicting the nation's history and culture. Although the new shilling is a stable currency and used in most financial transactions in Uganda, the U.S. dollar (USD), Great Britain pound (GBP) and the euro (EUR) also see use in the nation.