TZS Tanzanian Shilling What it is How it Works History

TZS Tanzanian Shilling What it is How it Works History

TZS (Tanzanian Shilling): What it is, How it Works, History

What Is the TZS (Tanzanian Shilling)?

The Tanzanian Shilling (TZS) is the official currency for United Republic of Tanzania located in eastern Africa. TZS is issued and managed by the Central Bank of Tanzania or the Benki Kuu Ya Tanzania. As of December 4, 2020, 1 U.S. dollar is equal to 2,319 TZS.

The Tanzanian shilling is made up of 100 senti, Swahili for cents. In written form, it appears as x/y with x as the number of shillings and y as the amount of senti. For example, 25 shillings would be written as 25/- or 25/=. 1 schilling, 52 senti would be denoted 1/52.

Key Takeaways

  • The Tanzanian shilling (TZS) is the currency of United Republic of Tanzania, replacing the East African shilling in 1966.
  • 1 shilling is composed of 100 senti, with banknotes and coins in circulation in denominations of 500 up to 10,000 shilling.
  • The value of the Tanzanian shilling is determined by the forex markets as it is a free floating currency.

Understanding the TZS (Tanzanian Shilling)

The Tanzanian shilling, or shilingi in Swahili, is the official currency of United Republic of Tanzania. It is a free floating currency, not pegged to any other monetary unit. Note that the U.S. dollar is also widely accepted throughout Tanzania.

The Tanzania shilling (TZS) has been in use since 1966 when it replaced the East African shilling at par, or at the ratio of 1:1. Prior to the adoption of the Tanzanian shilling, other currencies circulated in Tanzania, including the East African florin, the East African rupee, the East African shilling, the Zanzibari rupee, the Zanzibari ryal, and the German East African rupie.

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Initially, the Tanzanian shilling circulated in denominations of 5, 20, and 50 senti, as well as 1 shilling. Currently, the Tanzanian shilling circulates in both coin and banknote form with coins in denominations of 50, 100, 200, and 500 shilingi, and banknotes in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10,000 shilingi.

According to World Bank data, Tanzania has a growing urban population. However, rural areas still struggle with hunger. The country experiences a 3.5% annual inflation rate and had gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.8% in 2019.

History of the Tanzanian Shilling

The modern nation of Tanzania is made up of two distinct areas which united in 1961 to form the United Republic of Tanzania. During the colonial period, Tanzania was known as Tanganyika. Prior to the adoption of the Tanzanian shilling, the Zanzibar region used the Zanzibari ryal and later the Zanzibari rupee, while the East African rupee was used across all British East Africa colonies and protectorates. Five years after independence in 1961, the Tanzanian shilling replaced the East African shilling as the nation’s official currency.

In 1882, Tanzania came under German colonial rule as part of German East Africa. Portions of this area were awarded to Great Britain, Belgium, and Portugal after World War I. The end of British rule came in December 1961 and the area transitioned into a democratic republic. Reforms in the mid-1980s led to advancements in the welfare of the public in Tanzania.

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