Last updated on August 13th, 2023 at 10:15 am
The strongest currencies in Africa in 2023 in terms of US Dollar exchange rate are Tunisian Dinar, Libyan Dinar, Moroccan Dirham, Ghanaian Cedi, Seychellois Rupee, Botswana Pula, Eritrean Nakfa, Namibian Dollar, Lesotho Loti, and Swaziland Lilangeni.
In this post, we will compare currencies in Africa against the United State dollar and come up with the 15 most valuable currencies on the continent in terms of their rate against the USD.
Table of Contents
It should be noted that most of the African countries except a few of them depend largely on imported finished products from other continents. Some of them have indirectly imported inflation into their various economies.
Which African currencies are doing well and fairly against the USD?
1) Tunisian Dinar or TD
The dinar is the currency of Tunisia. Popularly called Dinar tunisien or DT because of the popular use of the French language, the currency was introduced in 1960, replacing Franc.
The government of Tunisia put a lot of regulatory measures in place to curtail inflation, particularly between. 2000 to 2015, and the effort is paying off as the Tunisian Dinar is now the strongest and most valuable currency in Africa.
1 USD = 3.09 TD
2) Libyan Dinar
Until September 1971, the pound was the official currency of Libya, but the young Army officer Col Muammar Gaddafi changed the currency to the Libyan Dinar.
The country positively utilises crude oil, one of the best in the world. Established the Libyan Arab Foreign Bank to manage overseas investment. And by 1973 Libyan Dinar was pegged at 0.29679 against the USD.
The country also did other pegging and for several years, Libyan Dinar maintained the first spot as the most valuable African currency until recently it dropped to the second position.
$1 = 4.80 LYD
3) Moroccan Dirham
Standing on number 3 the position is Moroccan Dirham. One USD to MAD is 9.78 MAD. Historically, the dirham is derived from the Greek currency. The denominations include100 dirhams, 200 dirhams, 50 dirhams, and 20 dirhams
4) Ghanaian Cedi or GHS
In 1983, Nigeria’s government deported over a million Ghanaians under the civilian administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. At the time, the economy of Ghana was in shamble.
Several years after, foreign investors choose Ghana over Nigeria as an investment destination. That has helped the country’s currency.
No doubt, the GHS has had its challenges, the Ghanaian Cedi is among the top five strongest currencies on the continent.
$1 = ₵11.23 6.52
History has shown that a decisive crackdown on the black market rate in Ghana helped the country to have firm control of its local currencies against the US dollar unlike a lot of African countries where the black market FX rate has hijacked the official rate from the Central Bank.
5) Seychelles Rupees or SCR
Off East Africa is Seychelles. The country houses several attractive beaches, rare animals, coral reefs and nature reserves.
One Seychellois Rupee is worth NGN57.62 while $1 to SCR is 13.14 SCR, making it the 5th strongest currency in Africa in terms of USD exchange rate.
6) Botswana Pula
When Nigeria’s economic data has failed to transform the living standard of its over 200 million people while the leadership continues to plunder the country into a generational debt, Botswana, a less popular country in global politics continues to stabilise its economy and currency.
As the number 6 most valuable currency in Africa, Botswana’s Pula is worth NGN57.16
$1 is just 13.46 Pula while the same one USD is worth NGN770 in Nigeria in the I&E Window rate. In terms of economic management, Botswana is far ahead of Nigeria.
It’s on record that hundreds of Nigerian professors leave Nigeria for Botswana for better opportunities and they are well remunerated over there.
The pula which was introduced on 23 August 1976, has denominations like 200 pula, 100 pula, 50 pula, 10 pula, and 20 pula.
7) Eritrean Nakfa or ERN
A breakaway country from Ethiopia is Eritrea which has several denominations both in banknotes and coins including 100 nakfa, 5 nakfa, 10 nakfa, 1 nakfa, 20 nakfa, 50 nakfa. Other include 10 cents, 1 nakfa, 1 cent, 5 cents, 50 cents, and 25 cents.
USD to ERN is 15.00.
Apart from being one of the top-performing currencies in Africa in terms of exchange rate against the US dollar, the State of Eritrea is home to tall, elegant and charming beautiful ladies.
8) Namibian Dollar
Occupying the 8th position is the Namibian Dollar. One United States Dollar is equivalent to 18.70 Namibian dollars.
Until 1993, the South African rand was the legal tender in Namibia. Though the rand is still accepted in Namibia, a former member of the Common Monetary Area from independence in 1990 until the introduction of the dollar in 1993.
The currency is in banknotes ($200, $100, $50, $20, $10) and coins.
9) Lesotho Loti or LSL
On the same spot as the Namibian Dollar is the Loti, the official currency of the Kingdom of Lesotho.
One USD is 18.70 Maloti (plura of Loti). Up till today, Loti and South African Rand are legal tender in Lesotho.
10) Swaziland Lilangeni or SZL
1 USD to SZL is E18.78. The Lilangeni has singular (L) and plural (E). as such, one might have L1, E200, E20 etc
11) South African Rand or R
Occupying the number 11 position as the valuable currency in Africa in terms of USD exchange rate is the South African Rand. One USD is worth 18.83 rand.
The R has attained a prominent position in the Common Monetary Area member states of Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini.
Although the aforementioned three countries have their own national currency, rand is still accepted.
12) Zambian Kwacha or ZMW
One USD is 18.97 kwacha.
Apart from its fair monetary management which put the value of the country’s currency in the 12th position on the continent, Zambia’s wide range of natural resources including uranium, copper, gold, cobalt, and silver among others are major sources of revenue.
By far, the kwacha is better than the currency of Nigeria, which claims to be a giant Africa
13) Egyptian Pound or EGP
The Egyptian Pound is the 13th most valuable currency on the continent. Even with its political challenges a few years ago, the country has been able to manage its resources like petroleum, natural gas, manganese, and limestone among others.
One US Dollar is worth 30.90 in the country.
14) Mauritanian Ouguiya or MRO
Mauritania is one of the few places in Africa where alcohol is outlawed. Despite its conversationalist policy, Ouguiya, the legal tender of Mauritania is in the 14th spot on the currencies in Africa
One USD = 37.85 MRO
15) Ethiopian Birr or ETB
Despite the devastating inflation rate Ethiopia faced between 2008 and 2011 due to what analysts described as a monetary policy, Birr occupies the number 15 position on the list of over 50 legal tenders in Africa.
One USD is worth 55.15 ETB
Factors that affect currency value:
A lot of factors come into in terms of the value of a currency in comparison with another, the notable ones include:
- Interest Rates
- Supply and demand factors
- Economic indicators
- Political stability
- Trade balance
- Central bank interventions
- Market liquidity
- Market sentiments
- Global economic conditions
Some of the challenges facing the continent include poor leadership, human disaster, violence and the negative effect of colonialism.
Despite all the aforementioned challenges, some of the African countries are able to put inflation in check and able to adequately manage and capitalise on the natural resources within their reach.
To a large extent, their ability to manage their resources has an effect on the value of the local currencies unlike some of them whose local currencies have embarrassing value.
For instance, Nigeria which claims to be Africa’s largest economy is in the league of weakest currencies in Africa.
On the surface, if each of the countries is adjudged by how large its economy is, one might list South African and Nigerian as the strongest, but the reverse is the case.
Some of the African countries with the strongest currencies are not as big as SA and Nigeria are in international politics and economy.
This means it isn’t by size, but by the realistic policies that were put in place by the leadership of the countries under review.
Even the Libyan Dinar which used to be the strongest currency in Africa, a position it held for several years, has been overthrown by other smaller countries on the continent.
From the analysis above, a bad monetary policy can badly affect the value of a country’s currency (a case study of Nigeria). Surprisingly, some smaller African countries whose population and land area are not up to a state in Nigeria do well in terms of monetary policies
Here is the list of 15 strongest currencies in Africa in 2023 in terms of US Dollar exchange rate
|Position||Currency||Conversion||Value in Local currency|
|1||Tunisian Dinar||USD to TND||3.09 TND|
|2||Libyan Dinar||USD to LYD||4.80 LYD|
|3||Moroccan Dirham||USD to MAD||9.78 MAD|
|4||Ghanaian Cedi||USD to GHS||11.23 GHS|
|5||Seychellois Rupee||USD to SCR||13.14 SCR|
|6||Botswana Pula||USD to BWP||13.46 BWP|
|7||Eritrean Nakfa||USD to ERN||15.00 7 ERN|
|8||Namibian Dollar||USD to NAD||18.70 NAD|
|9||Lesotho Loti||USD to LSL||18.70 LSL|
|10||Swaziland Lilangeni||USD to SZL||18.78 SZL|
|11||South African Rand||USD to ZAR||18.83 ZAR|
|12||Zambian Kwacha||USD to ZMW||18.97 ZMW|
|13||Egyptian Pound||USD to EGP||30.90 EGP|
|14||Mauritanian Ouguiya||USD to MRO||37.85 MRO|
|15||Ethiopian Birr||USD to ETB||50.86|
|16||Gambian Dalasi||USD to GMD||60.40 GMD|
|17||Mozambican Metical||USD to MZN||63.25 MZN|
|18||Cape Verde Escudo||USD to CVE||99.99 CVE|
One striking thing about the aforementioned best currencies in Africa is that 11 of them made the 2020 World Bank ranking of the best African countries to do business.
Tunisia, Ghana, Morocco, Botswana, Seychelles and South Africa had an impressive scores using several indicators. Others include Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Egypt and Zambia