Malawi urges people to stop damaging bank notes | Africa | DW | 13.12.2017
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Money, money, money

Malawi urges people to stop damaging bank notes

Malawi is spending several million US dollars every year to replace torn and dirty bank notes as people throw money as sign of good luck. Malawi's central bank has now rolled out a campaign to stop this wear and tear.

It's part of Malawian tradition to throw bills around at weddings, bridal showers and other social events as a sign of wealth and good luck.

The money that's been thrown on the floor is then trampled on - often, it's too dirty or torn to be used again.

The bank notes need to eventually be replaced by Malawi's Reserve Bank. And it's not coming cheap, according to bank governor Dalitso Kabambe.

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"It cost the reserve Bank of Malawi about 12 to 13 billion Malawi kwacha every year (about $17 million; 15 million euros) in order for us to destroy those damaged notes and replace them with new ones," Kabambe told DW.

"It is a serious cost to the country and economy," he added.

Not durable enough?

However, people on the streets blame the bank for putting out notes that are not as durable as those issued in other countries.

Others like Lilongwe resident Ntchindi Meki say it won't be easy to stop Malawi's tradition of celebrating by throwing money in the air. He added it was a good idea though that the bank sets out to inform people about the negative effects - destroying the bank notes.

Central Bank Governor Kabambe says they will start a campaign to educate people to take better care of Malawian bank notes. He also said he was going to start prosecuting culprits from 2018.

"What we will do is go on a massive campaign to educate and inform the nation that it is an offense for us to continue defacing Malawi's notes. If this continues we will endeavor to take that step next year to prosecute all those that will deface the country's currency as per our laws."

He added the Reserve Bank of Malawi set aside 500 million kwacha for the campaign.

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