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What is the currency of Tanzania?

20 Aug 2021 - Category: Blog /
What is the currency of Tanzania?

Are you thinking about sending money to Tanzania?

If so, you may be wondering about the Tanzanian currency. What is it called? What coins and notes are in circulation? What does it look like? How strong is the currency compared to other African nations?

Over the years, the Tanzanian economy has experienced changes, some of which have been linked to the development of the country’s currency. So let’s dive in and learn about the Tanzanian currency.

In this blog, we’ll explore the fascinating history of the Tanzanian currency, it’s exchange rates with some of the major currencies and how you can send money to Tanzania.

The currency of Tanzania

The currency used in Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling. This currency replaced the East African Shilling in the 1960s and has been managed by the Central Bank of Tanzania ever since.

The Tanzanian shilling is vital to the country’s economic welfare. The ups and downs of the currency over the past decade have been tied to developments in the nation. The currency is subdivided into 100 senti and is used solely in Tanzania. Throughout Tanzania, the US dollar is also widely accepted alongside the Tanzanian shilling.

How is the Tanzanian shilling recognised?

Now you know the currency is called the Tanzanian shilling it helps to know how to recognise it. The sign for the shilling is TSh and the code is TZS. This is the way the Tanzanian shilling is identified on the global scale. Often you will see the code in reference to exchange rates and the value of the currency. The Tanzanian shilling symbol also appears as x/y (X being the number of shillings and Y being the amount of senti).

Other African nations like Kenya (KES) also also use the shilling as currency, so these signs (TSh) and codes (TZS) are a useful way to distinguish the currency from others on the global stage. In order to understand more about the Tanzanian shilling it’s worth taking a brief look at the history of the currency.

The history of the Tanzanian shilling

As with many countries in the region, the currency changed during the 1960s as Tanzania gained independence. British rule in the area came to an end in 1961 but it wasn’t until 1966 that the Tanzanian shilling replaced the generic East African shilling.

In 1966 new coins were introduced to mark the arrival of the new currency. Denominations of 5, 20, and 50 cents and 1 shilling were released into circulation. Nowadays there are bills of Tsh500, Tsh5000 and Tsh 10,000. The coins of Tsh1, Tsh5 and Tsh10 are rarely encountered.

As Tanzania became a democratic republic in the 1960’s, their unique currency was formed. Since then the Tanzanian shilling has remained the currency. The worth of the shilling has fluctuated over the years. In particular during the 1980s the extent of the national debt forced Tanzania to borrow from the IMF and as a result the value of the Tanzanian shilling depreciated. Now let’s take a look at how the Tanzanian shilling compares on the global stage today.

Exchange rates

The exchange rate of a currency lets everyone know what that currency is currently worth internationally. It helps to compare the Tanzanian shilling to other East African currencies as well as major global currencies like the US Dollar, the British Pound, the Euro and the Indian Rupee.

On average, during 2020 you could get 21 TZS for 1 Kenyan Shilling (KES). This exchange rate has stayed relatively stable throughout 2021 as well. Similarly, on average during 2020, 1 Indian rupee (INR) could be exchanged for 31 TZS. In 2021, the exchange rate of Tanzanian currency to the Indian rupee remains stable.

Now let’s have a look at what you can get for Tanzanian shillings to dollars and Tanzanian shillings to euros. In 2021, the average exchange rate of the US dollar to the Tanzanian shilling is 1 USD to 2318 TZS. Similarly, the average exchange rate in 2021 of the euro to the shilling is 1 EUR to 2787 TZS.

As you can see on the global stage while the Tanzanian shilling is relatively small it is also relatively stable. In recent years, the exchange rate with major currencies has been quite consistent.

Tanzania’s economy

The fate of the Tanzanian shilling and it’s exchange rate with other currencies is largely dependent on the success of Tanzania’s economy. “Tanzania has one of Africa's fastest growing economies with nearly 7 percent annual national GDP growth since 2000. Yet, widespread poverty persists with 49 percent of Tanzania's population living below the international extreme poverty line of $1.90 per day.” So while there are hopefully good days ahead, the current Tanzanian economy is struggling.

Although currency plays a big role in the state of the economy, the industry standards, and the levels of imports and exports play a much larger role. Regional instability has kept Tanzania from establishing a stable economy for many years. However, the country recently reached an important milestone in July 2020, when it “formally graduated from low-income country to lower-middle-income country status.”

The World Bank believes there has been strong growth in the last decade but emphasises that Tanzania is still in a difficult economic situation. It is worth noting that the US dollar is commonly used for currency in Tanzania as well as the local shilling, especially in tourist areas.

How do I send money to Tanzania?

Hopefully, you now know a bit more about the Tanzanian currency. This information will serve you well if you are doing business in Tanzania or if you are trying to send money to loved ones in Tanzania.

If you are looking for a secure and quick way to transfer funds to Tanzania, we can help. Small World is an international money transfer service helping people send and receive money all over the world.

We offer two ways to send money to Tanzania: bank deposit and mobile wallet. And we have partnered with several top banks in Tanzania including Barclays, Standard Chartered, CRDB Bank, Equity Bank and the National Bank of Commerce to ensure that recipients can get their money wherever they are in the country.

Your first transfer online is always fee free!


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