The official currency of Ethiopia is the Ethiopian Birr. One Ethiopian Birr is worth 100 Santims. With over 88 million users, the Ethiopian Birr is the second most used currency in Africa. In 2008 over 186 billion Ethiopian Birr were in circulation. Coins are issued in 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 Santim as well as 1 Birr. Banknotes come in 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 Birr.
Before 1976, the word "Birr" meant "Dollar" in English but today it is simply "Birr" in English as well. "Birr" in Ge’ez and Amharic means "Silver." In the 18th and 19th centuries, Ethiopians also used blocks of salt bound with straw called "Amole tchew" (አሞሌ ) for trading. Ethiopian Birr coins all depict a lion. Coins struck before 1969 show a lion holding a cross and those after 1969 show a lion roaring.
The first currency in Ethiopia was the Maria Theresa Taler, a silver coin that was first minted in 1741. These coins were locally known as 'Birr.' Although made an official currency in 1855, the Indian Rupee and Mexican Dollar were also used. In 1893, the 'Menelik Talari' otherwise known as the Thaler, Dollar or Birr, became the official unit of currency and in 1905 the Bank of Abyssinia, which later became the National Bank of Ethiopia, was formed. The bank continued to import Maria Theresa Thalers and introduced Ethiopian banknotes in 1915, so by the mid 1930s the most widely used currencies were the Maria Theresa Thaler and the Menelik Talari. In 1936, the Italian occupation of Ethiopia lead to the introduction of Italian Lira to the country and the withdrawal of Ethiopian banknotes and in 1941, the British introduced a variety of new currencies until the East African Shilling was established as sole legal tender in 1942. In 1945, the Ethiopian Dollar was re-established and was renamed the Ethiopian Birr i
- Santim (100)
- National Bank of Ethiopia
- Addis Ababa