The currency of Ethiopia (English Ethiopia) is the Ethiopian Birr. The Ethiopian Birr’s ISO 42-17 code is ETB. The Ethiopian Birr Br is abbreviated. The Birr is the national currency of Ethiopia. The term birr is derived from the old Amharic term for silver.
History of the Ethiopian currency
The Ethiopian birr was introduced as the official currency of Ethiopia in 1894 by the then emperor Menelik II.
From 1894 to 1903, 1 birr was equivalent to 20 Gersh or 40 Besa. From 1903 to 1933 1 Birr was equivalent to 16 Gersh or 32 Besa. From 1933 to 1945 1 birr was equivalent to 100 Mätonya. Since 1945, 1 birr is now equivalent to 100 satim.
The name Birr has never changed since the currency was introduced in 1894. However, the Ethiopian birr was previously referred to abroad as the “thaler” and until 1976 even as the “dollar”. Course coins are in circulation in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 Satim as well as 1 Birr. Banknotes are in circulation in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 Birr.
The National Bank of Ethiopia is the issuer of the current coins and banknotes. Ethiopia is officially one of the poorest countries in the world. Nevertheless, it has its own currency, the Birr.
Exchange into the Ethiopian currency
The high rate of inflation and a huge trade deficit meant that the Ethiopian birr continued to depreciate against the US dollar and could hardly be exchanged for it. The US dollar has not yet become a shadow currency alongside the birr in Ethiopia.
Nevertheless, the US dollar is accepted by the locals for paying visa fees and as a tip. Bank and credit cards such as VISA, Mastercard, Diners Club and AmericanExpress can only be used to a very limited extent in Ethiopia, e.g. at international banks in large cities.
The introduction of eurosto Ethiopia is pointless as the locals do not know this currency and therefore do not accept it. You should therefore enter with new US dollar bills or with travelers checks, both of which are usually easily exchanged for Birr in Ethiopia outside the capital.
Warning: checks are generally not accepted. Tourists are only allowed to bring 200 birr with them when leaving.