Botswana pula

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Botswana pula
Botswana 2-pula banknote (1980s).png 2pulab.png
Obverse of 2 pula (1980s)Reverse of 2 pula (1980s)
ISO 4217
Symbol P
Banknotes10, 20, 50, 100, 200 pula
Coins5, 10, 25, 50 thebe, 1, 2, 5 pula
Official user(s)Flag of Botswana.svg  Botswana
Unofficial user(s)Flag of Zimbabwe.svg  Zimbabwe
Central bank Bank of Botswana
Inflation 2.50% (April 2020)
Source Bank of Botswana, 7 July 2016
Method CPI

The pula is the currency of Botswana. It has the ISO 4217 code BWP and is subdivided into 100 thebe. Pula literally means "rain" in Setswana, because rain is very scarce in Botswana—home to much of the Kalahari Desert—and therefore valuable and a blessing. [1] [2] The word also serves as the national motto of the country.


A sub-unit of the currency is known as thebe, or "shield", [3] and represents defence. [4] The names were picked with the help of the public. [4]


The Pula was introduced on 23 August 1976, subsequently known as "Pula Day", replacing the South African rand at par. [5]


In 1976, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 thebe. The 1 thebe was struck in aluminum, with the 5 thebe in bronze and the others in cupro-nickel. These coins were round except for the scalloped 1 pula. Bronze, dodecagonal 2 thebe coins were introduced in 1981 and discontinued after 1985. In 1991, bronze-plated steel replaced bronze in the 5 thebe, nickel-plated steel replaced cupro-nickel in the 10, 25 and 50 thebe and the 1 pula changed to a smaller, nickel-brass, equilateral-curve seven-sided coin. A similarly shaped, nickel-brass 2 pula was introduced in 1994. In 2004, the composition was changed to brass-plated steel and the size was slightly reduced. [6]

Following the withdrawal of the 1 and 2 thebe in 1991 and 1998 respectively, smaller 5, 10, 25 and 50 thebe coins were introduced, with the 5 and 25 thebe coins being seven-sided and the 10 and 50 thebe coins remaining round. [7] A bimetallic 5 pula depicting a mopane caterpillar and a branch of the mopane tree it feeds on was introduced in 2000 composed of a cupronickel center in a ring made of aluminum-nickel-bronze. [8]

A new series of coins was introduced in 2013. [9] All previous coins were demonetized with effect from 28 August 2014, and remained exchangeable to current coins for 5 years until 28 August 2019. [10]

Botswana pula coins
ImageValueCompositionDiameterWeightThicknessEdge      Issued      Demonetized
1 thebe Aluminum 18.5 mm0.8 g1.22 mmSmooth1976–19911 July 2014
2 thebe Bronze 17.4 mm (dodecagonal)1.8 g1.05 mmSmooth1981–19851 July 2014
5 thebe Bronze 19.5 mm2.8 g1.17 mmReeded1976–19891 July 2014
5 thebe Bronze-plated steel19.5 mm2.8 g1.28 mmSmooth or reeded1991–19961 July 2014
5 thebe Bronze-plated steel17 mm (heptagonal)2.41 g1.75 mmSmooth1998–20091 July 2014
5 thebe 2013.jpg 5 thebe Nickel-plated steel18 mm (heptagonal)2.218 g1.3 mmSmooth2013No
10 thebe Copper-nickel 22 mm4 g1.33 mmReeded1976–19891 July 2014
10 thebe Nickel-plated steel22 mm3.8 gReeded19911 July 2014
10 thebe Nickel-plated steel18 mm2.8 g1.75 mmReeded1998–20081 July 2014
10 thebe 2013.jpg 10 thebe Nickel-plated steel20 mm2.8 g1.4 mmReeded2013No
25 thebe Copper-nickel 25 mm5.8 gReeded1976–19891 July 2014
25 thebe Nickel-plated steel25 mm5.73 gReeded19911 July 2014
25 thebe Nickel-plated steel20 mm (heptagonal)3.5 g1.8 mmSmooth1998–20091 July 2014
25 thebe 2013.jpg 25 thebe Nickel-plated steel22 mm (heptagonal)4.2 g1.6 mmSmooth2013No
50 thebe Copper-nickel 28 mm11.4 g2.3 mmReeded1976–19851 July 2014
50 thebe Copper-nickel 28 mm11.4 g2.3 mmReeded1976–19851 July 2014
50 thebe Nickel-plated steel28 mm11.4 g19911 July 2014
1998 50 tkhebe Botsvana avers.png
1998 50 tkhebe Botsvana revers.png
50 thebe Nickel-plated steel21.3 mm4.82 g2.2 mmSmooth1996–20011 July 2014
50 thebe 2013.jpg 50 thebe Nickel-plated steel24 mm5.3 g1.8 mmReeded2013No
1 pula Copper-nickel 29.5 mm; scalloped (with 12 notches)16.4 gSmooth1976–19871 July 2014
1 pula Nickel-brass 24 mm (heptagonal)8.8 g2.7 mmSegmented (10 reeds per 7 sections)1991–20071 July 2014
1 Pula 2013.jpg 1 pula Bronze-plated steel26 mm7.8 gSmooth2013–2016No
2 pula Nickel-brass 26.4 mm (heptagonal)6.3 g2.4 mmSegmented (19 reeds per 7 sections)19941 July 2014
Botswana 2 Pula 2004 s.JPG
Botswana 2 pula 2004.JPG
2 pula brass-plated steel24.6 mm (heptagonal)6.02 g2 mmSegmented (19 reeds per 7 sections)20041 July 2014
2 Pula 2013.jpg 2 pulaBi-metallic; bronze-plated steel in center, nickel-plated steel in ring27 mm7.3 g2 mmReeded2013–2016no
5 pulaBi-metallic; copper-nickel in center, brass in ring23.5 mm6 g2 mmReeded2000–20071 July 2014
5 Pula 2013.jpg 5 pulaBi-metallic; copper-nickel in center, brass in ring28 mm8.7 g2.2 mmSegmented2013–2016no


On 23 August 1976, [11] the Bank of Botswana introduced notes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, and 10 pula; a 20-pula note followed on 16 February 1978. The 1- and 2-pula notes were replaced by coins in 1991 and 1994, whilst the first 50- and 100-pula notes were introduced on 29 May 1990 and 23 August 1993, respectively. [11] The 5-pula note was replaced by a coin in 2000. The original 1-, 2- and 5-pula banknotes were demonetized on 1 July 2011.

The current series of notes was introduced on 23 August 2009 [12] and contains, for the first time, a 200-pula banknote.

In response to the concern of the poor quality of the paper of the 10-pula banknote, the Bank of Botswana revealed a 10-pula banknote in polymer in November 2017 and was issued to the public on 1 February 2018. [13]

Banknotes of the Botswana pula (2009 issue)
ImageValueMain colourObverseReverseWatermark
BWP010v.jpg 10 pulaGreen President Seretse Khama Ian Khama Parliament building, Gaborone Rampant zebra and electrotype 10
BWP020v.jpg 20 pulaRed Kgalemang Tumediso Motsete Mining equipmentRampant zebra and electrotype 20
BWP050v.jpg 50 pulaBrownPresident Sir Seretse Khama Okavango Delta swamps, boat, fish eagleRampant zebra and electrotype 50
BWP100v.jpg 100 pulaBlueThree chiefs (Sebele I, Bathoen I, Khama III)Diamond sorting, open-pit diamond mineRampant zebra and electrotype 100
BWP200v.jpg 200 pulaPurpleFemale teacher and childrenZebrasRampant zebra and electrotype 200
Current BWP exchange rates


Due to hyperinflation in Zimbabwe from 2006 to 2008, the government of Zimbabwe has allowed circulation of foreign currency since 2008. The Zimbabwean dollar became obsolete on 12 April 2009. Several currencies, including the South African rand and Botswana pula, circulate in Zimbabwe, [14] along with the Zimbabwean bond notes and bond coins.


The word pula also serves as part of the national motto of the Kingdom of Lesotho. As in Botswana, it means "rain" in the Sotho language and is considered a synonym for "blessing".

See also

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  1. "Pula currency". 2018-11-09. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  2. "History of Botswana Currency | Bank of Botswana". Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  3. Masire, Ketumile (2006). Very brave or very foolish?. Macmillan Botswana. p. 81. ISBN   978-99912-404-8-0. Pula (rain) was an easy choice for the currency, and the decimal coins were called thebe (shield). (Memoirs of a former president of Botswana)
  4. 1 2 Standard Chartered Review. Standard Chartered Bank. 1976. p. 9. The new names pula and thebe were chosen following an invitation to the public to submit a their suggestions [...] The meaning of "thebe" is shield — the traditional means of defence.
  5. "History of Botswana Currency | Bank of Botswana". Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  6. "History of Botswana Currency | Bank of Botswana". Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  8. "Coinage of Botswana". Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  9. "New Family of Coins | Bank of Botswana". Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  11. 1 2 Linzmayer, Owen (2011). "Botswana". The Banknote Book. San Francisco, CA: Retrieved 2011-08-21.
  12. "Botswana issues new note series". BanknoteNews. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
  13. Lekopanye Mooketsi (15 February 2019). "Khama Launches New Bank Notes" . Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  14. Alongside Zimbabwean dollar (suspended indefinitely from 12 April 2009), euro, US dollar, pound sterling, South African rand, Indian rupee, Australian dollar, Chinese yuan and Japanese yen. The US dollar has been adopted as the official currency for all government transactions in Zimbabwe.
Preceded by:
South African rand
Reason: creation of independent currency
Ratio: at par
Currency of Botswana
Succeeded by: