The use of the lilangeni

The Central Bank of Eswatini’s mission is to foster financial sector stability conducive to economic development in the Kingdom. Our vision is to be amongst the top five leading Central Banks in the Eastern and Southern African region. In order to achieve these, the Bank is expected to execute its mandate as provided for in the Central Bank of Eswatini Order of 1975, as amended.

Part of this mandate is that of issuing and redeeming currency in the Kingdom of Eswatini. This responsibility has been executed by the Bank since the very first day the local currency was introduced as legal tender on 6th September 1974.

Currency refers to money in any form when in actual use or circulation as a medium of exchange, especially circulating banknotes and coins. A more general definition is that a currency is a system of money (monetary units) in common use, especially in a nation.

In Eswatini we have five (5) denominations of Emalangeni bank notes (E200, E100, E50, E20 and E10) and seven (7) denominations of coins (5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, E1, E2 and E5). The Lilangeni Currency (SZL) was introduced in 1974 at par with the South African Rand through the CMA (Common Monetary Area) to which it remains tied at a one-to-one exchange rate.

The Central Bank of Eswatini as empowered by the Central Bank Order of 1974 as amended has the sole right to issue notes and coins which are a legal tender within Eswatini. No other person other than CBS shall issue in Eswatini notes or coins or any documents or tokens payable to bearer on demand, having the appearance of or purporting to be currency. Any person contravening this act shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of E10000 or imprisonment for seven years or both, as a cording to the CBS order.


On 6 September 1974, the Monetary Authority of Swaziland introduced notes in denominations of E1, E2, E5 and E10, with E20 notes following in 1978. In 1981, the Central Bank of Swaziland produced and issued the first notes commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of King Sobhuza II. Between 1982 and 1985, the Bank introduced non-commemorative notes for E2, E5, E10, and E20. In 1990 E50 notes were introduced.

In 1995, E2 and E5 notes were replaced by coins, whilst E100 and E200 emalangeni notes were introduced in 1996 and 1998, respectively, with the E200 notes commemorating the 30th anniversary of independence. On September 5, 2008, the Central Bank of Swaziland issued E100 and E200 notes to commemorate the 40th birthday of King Mswati III and the 40th anniversary of independence. In 2010, the Central Bank of Swaziland issued a new series of banknotes with enhanced security features. (see poster of notes security features and description below)


In 1974, coins for 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and 1 lilangeni were introduced, with the 1 and 2 cents struck in bronze and the others struck in cupro-nickel. Except for the 1 lilangeni, the coins were not round, with the 1 and 50 cents dodecagonal, the 2 cents square with rounded corners and the 5, 10 and 20 cents scalloped. The 2 cents was last minted in 1982, whilst, in 1986, round, copper-plated steel 1 cent and nickel-brass 1 lilangeni coins were introduced. These were followed, in 1992, by nickel-plated-steel 5 and 10 cents and nickel-brass-plated-steel 1 lilangeni coins. In 1995, 2 and 5 emalangeni coins were introduced.

Nationwide recall of coins

In 2016, in accordance with section 26 of the Central Bank Order of 1974 the Bank recalled all old coins which were produced in 2014 backwards and demonetized them. These coins were replaced with a new series of coins in February 2016. The key considerations of withdrawing these coins was that they were no longer economical; aesthetically pleasing; secure against coins from neighbouring countries (coin tourism) and causing confusion in the market due to the numerous types of each denomination.

Current series of coins

The current coin series is expected to enable retailers, businesses and banks to significantly increase their efficiencies in cash handling, resulting in reduced costs in the long run for the benefit of the general public.
The coins have been designed to meet all five key objectives the Bank strives to achieve when issuing currency which are:

  • Currency should be issued economically
  • Currency should be aesthetically pleasing
  • Currency should be secure against that of neighboring countries
  • Currency should be secure against counterfeiting
  • Currency should cater for the needs of every member of the public including visually impaired persons.
Exchanging cash
Mutilated Notes

One of the functions of the Central Bank is to redeem mutilated notes. This function stems from it being the institution mandated to be sole issuer and redeemer of the Emalangeni currency. Redemption of mutilated notes means exchange of substandard currency (e.g. torn, dirty or burnt notes) for clean notes. This is done at the Central Bank of Eswatini’s Banking Hall at Umntsholi Building.
The exchange of mutilated notes is a service also offered by the commercial banks on behalf of the Central Bank of Eswatini. Redemption is guided by rules set below as per government gazette. The degree of mutilation determines the value that can be paid.

Full value payment

The full face value of currency is paid under the following circumstances:

  • When the mutilation is such that all the full authorized signatures appear and there is at least one full serial number
  • When the mutilation is such that one and half signatures appear on the face of the note and one full serial number.

Half Value payment

Where the mutilation is such that only one full signature and serial number appear on the face of the note.

No Redemption

There will be no redemption for any note that does not meet the above requirements. There will be no redemption for any note that does not pass the security features tests.

  • Obtain forms from the nearest commercial bank or Central Bank
  • Fill up the information required
  • Take the money and form to any Commissioner of Oaths to swear for proof of ownership and the truthfulness of the information you provided.
  • Present to the Bank the form and money for payment/redemption.
Educational: Counterfeit Detection guide for emalangeni (SZL)

Counterfeit, fake or forged banknotes or coins are illegal reproductions of genuine banknotes or coin through unauthorised or criminal activities. Counterfeit notes (counterfeit bills) are prevalent in any environment where money is exchanged. Members of the public are advised that they must accept counterfeits or suspected counterfeits, fake or forged banknotes or coin for payment for goods or services or as change. They must report such banknotes or coin in their possession or with suspected dealers, to the nearest Police Station or to the Central Bank of Eswatini. Members of the public are advised that they can differentiate a counterfeit, fake or forged banknote from a genuine banknote using the three concepts of note examination (LOOK, FEEL, TILT), by examining the following banknote features:

  • Paper Feel - A genuine banknote has a rough surface, whereas a counterfeit normally has a smoother surface.
  • Colour - A counterfeit, fake or forged banknote colour invariably does not exactly match the colours of a genuine banknote. The colours of a counterfeit may be too dark or too light due to a lack of proper equipment or professionalism in adjustment of the colour codes in the devices used.
  • Security Thread - The security thread is a metal-looking strip positioned vertically, slightly away from the centre of the banknote. When viewed from the front, the strip appears broken, but when viewed from the back it appears continuous. The strip has “CENTRAL BANK OF SWAZILAND” printed in it, which can be seen when viewed from the back or front. The colour of the strip changes from bright green to bright pink when tilted in the high denominations of E50, E100 and E200. In the lower denominations the security thread is silver, smaller and does not colour shift.
  • Watermark - The water mark, which can be viewed more clearly by holding the banknote up to a lit background, is a mould-made three-dimensional watermark that shows the portrait of His Majesty, with a highlighted necklace.
  • Intaglio Printing (Raised Printing) - Intaglio Printing is used on specific sections of the banknotes as a very effective security feature. The Intaglio print feels rough quite unlike other sections of the note, which are smooth. The following features are printed in Intaglio and have the rough feeling.

Front of the note
  • Kings Portrait
  • Features for the visually impaired
  • Large text printed in the centre of the note, in capital letters reading “CENTRAL BANK OF SWAZILAND” and the small text print in red below it.
  • The banknote value printed in words and in numbers on the far left.

The South African Rand is accepted as legal tender in the country and is pegged 1:1 to the Lilangeni. More details on the ZAR can be obtained on the SARB website.

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