Have you seen the new notes and coins yet? So when you had ZMK 5000 now you have ZMW 5 (drop 3 zeros)! The Kwacha is subdivided into 100 Ngwee which can be found again in forms of coins. The Ngwee existed prior to the rebasing, but the value of the coin material was higher than its face value, so it had practically disappeared from the market.

Now, there is also a coin for 1 Kwacha.

If you have old notes you can use them until June 30th, 2013.

Today (January 3rd, 2013) , for example, the Bank of Zambia’s exchange rate will give you 5.2543 ZMW for 1 USD (mid rate).


This is what you can read now on Wikipedia: On 22 August 2012 the Bank of Zambia issued a press release stating that the changeover date for the rebased currency had been set as 1 January 2013. The new ISO code will be ZMW. Initial reaction to the move was positive. Razia Khan, head of Africa research at Standard Chartered commented saying, “The rebasing might be kwacha positive, to the extent that it is a continued commitment to low, and stable inflation”. On January 1, 2013 the new Zambian Kwacha was introduced at a rate of 1000 old kwacha = 1 new kwacha. Until June 30, 2013 the old notes will remain legal tender alongside the new kwacha notes.

(Wikipedia January 3rd, 2013)

Shenton Safaris

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  1. sue February 13, 2017 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    Where in sa can I exchange my zambian kwachas?

    • Shenton Safaris
      Shenton Safaris March 11, 2017 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Hello Sue,
      Are you a resident in SA? In theory you should be able to contact your bank and request a currency change in your bank. This needs usually needs to be booked before hand so that the banks can prepare themselves for the exchange, but I’m not sure what rate you will get. If instead you are not a resident, the only solution I could imagine would be at an airport currency exchange.
      Hope this helps!

  2. Geoff Rees November 8, 2015 at 8:51 am - Reply

    What is the difference in the look of the new and old notes so that I don’t get passed off useless old ones. Where is a website where I can see them? Thanks

  3. thomas July 10, 2014 at 8:37 am - Reply

    we know ZMK meant zambian kwacha kindly confirm what the letters ZMW stand for im desperate to know

    • Izzy
      Izzy August 21, 2014 at 2:50 pm - Reply

      Hi Thomas,
      The Zambian Kwacha was rebased on January 1st, 2013 and the new currency code is ZMW (international code). 1 ZMW = 1000 ZMK (the old currency)

      • raphael October 12, 2016 at 12:39 pm

        So the ‘W’ is just for code reference and isn’t an abbreviation for a word?

      • Shenton Safaris October 16, 2016 at 4:53 pm

        Hello Raphael, yes when the Zambian Kwahcha was rebased it was given a new currency code ZMW. Therefore the ‘W’ does not stand for a word. Hope this answers your question.

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