What is the local currency of Somalia?

09 Feb 2022 - Category: Blog /
currency somalia

The Federal Republic of Somalia is a country located in the Horn of Africa. With a population of over 15 million and a distinctive national identity, Somali is one of the major nations on the northeast coast of Africa.

If you’re thinking about travelling to Somalia or you want to send money to your loved ones based in the country, then you may have a few questions. Learning about the currency of Somalia is a great place to start.

In this blog we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about the currency of Somalia.

Below you’ll learn about:

  • The Somalian local currency, the Somali shilling
  • How is the Somali shilling recognised?
  • The history of the Somali shilling
  • The Somali shilling today
  • Exchange rates
  • How can I send money to Somalia?

What currency is used in Somalia?

The currency of Somalia is the Somali shilling. The currency is controlled and issued by the Central Bank of Somalia. Over the years civil war and social unrest has impacted the way the Somali shilling has been treated internationally and domestically.

However, in recent years the currency has been on the path of recovery and has helped to return some economic stability to the area. During the civil war in the 1990s there was a period of instability and United States dollars were also used throughout the country as a viable currency. US dollars were most commonly used for large transactions as the value of the Somali shilling plummeted.

How is the Somali shilling recognised?

The Somali shilling is recognised by the sign: Sh.So. And the currency is internationally recognised by the code “SOS”. In Somali the currency is called “Shilin Soomaali” or “shilin” for short. In Arabic, the most common language in the country, the currency is referred to as شلن.

The subunit of the Somali shilling is the Senti. The shilling is subdivided into 100 senti (cents). The coins in current circulation include the 5, 10, 50 cents and 1 shilling. The banknotes in circulation include 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000. The smaller denominations are not used as often because of their relatively low value after periods of inflation.

The history of the Somali shilling

The Somali currency has an interesting and fluctuating history. When Somalia became independent from British and Italian colonial rule in 1962, the Somali shilling was introduced as the official legal tender. The East African shilling, which had been used throughout the region for years, was replaced at par by the Somali shilling.

In 1960 the government established the Central Bank of Somalia. This institution presides over the Somali shilling and has the responsibility to maintain monetary stability and ensure the internal and external value of the Somali shilling.

During the 1990s the value of the Somali shilling plunged as civil war broke out across the country. The Central Bank of Somalia shut down during the turmoil and rival producers of the local currency emerged. This period of devaluation eventually ended in the 2000s. A new body, the Transitional Federal Government, re-established the Central Bank of Somalia and aimed to improve the fortunes of the Somali shilling.

The Somali shilling today

Like many currencies, the Somali shilling has evolved over the years. It has risen and fallen quite dramatically and its relationship to other currencies around the world such as the US dollar has evolved.

Following years of unrest, Somali appears to be on the path to recovery both politically and economically. In 2011 a provision constitution was created and in 2012 a federal government was established. Stability is key to the strength of a currency and the Somali shilling, while still relatively weak, has risen in value in recent years.

Agriculture is the most important industry in the country and this is reflected in the images that can be found on the Somali shilling notes. For example, on the 100 shilling notes you can see a woman with a shovel and rake on the obverse side and an agricultural product processing factory on the reverse. Similarly, on the new banknotes issued in 2018 you can see images of boat building and watering animals.

Exchange rates

Sometimes it helps to compare the Somali shilling to other major currencies around the world and the currencies of neighbouring countries. With that knowledge we can better understand the general state of the Somali economy and you can identify the best time to send money to Somalia. So, let’s take a look…

So far in 2022, the average exchange rate of the Somali currency to the Kenyan shilling (KES) has been around 1 KES to 5.1 SOS. Plenty of trade and commerce occurs between Kenya and Somalia because they share a border. So it helps to keep track of how these two currencies are interacting.

On the other side of Africa, countries like Togo and Senegal use the West African CFA franc which, on average, has a similar international value to the Somali shilling. In 2022, 1 XOF will get you approximately 1 SOS. So, what about some of the major international currencies?

In 2022, the average exchange rate of the Somali shilling to the US Dollar has been hovering around 1 USD to 580 SOS. Similarly, the average exchange of the Somali shilling to the British Pound in 2022 has been around 1 GBP to 780 SOS. On average, the exchange rate of the Indian Rupee to the Somali shilling in 2022 has been around 1 INR to 7.7 SOS. These three exchange rates should give you an indication of the value of the Somali shilling on the international stage.

Knowing these exchange rates will also help you if you are travelling to Somalia or if you want to send money to loved ones in Somalia.

Transfer Money to Somalia

You will soon be able to transfer money to Somalia with Small World’s simple and effective money transfer service. Now that you know more about the Somali shilling it will be easier to know where your money is going and how much it is truly worth in Somalia.

So stay tuned for more information about our services to Somalia. In the meantime you can follow us on our social channels!

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