In the annals of good ideas, Somalia’s plan to print money would be a conspicuous absentee. However, this appears to be exactly what the Transitional Federal Government – currently in control of two Mogadishu blocks, 300 camels and a Panamanian-registered tugboat (I made that up, but you get the picture) – is planning to do. With militias rampaging through the country, trucks filled with notes from the mint in Sudan should be perfectly safe as they trundle back and forth to Somalia’s network of banks. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, the government of Puntland has a couple of ideas. Maybe it is splitting hairs (perhaps an economist could let me know whether any of this matters) but in its view, and falling some way short of the sort of can-do attitude Somalia so badly need, it says…
The plan to mint new currency lacks legal backing and poses grave dangers to the fragile Somali economy when one considers the following: a) the nonexistence of monetary policy by the Central Bank of Somalia ; and b) the absence of statistical knowledge of money, finance, banking and financial market indicators.
Hmm. A case of not seeing the woods for the trees if you ask me.
But, when I started to search for more details I stumbled across this charming numismatics site detailing commemorative coins produced in the name of Somalia.
Nothing else appeared until various 1998 dated commemorative series. The main examples of these are various series of crown-sized types in denominations 25 Shillings and 250 Shillings, known to be made by the Tower Mint, a private mint in Great Britain. Different themes covered include “A History of World Shipping”, “Wildlife of Somalia and East Africa”, “Significant Events of Modern Times”, “Millenium Icons” and even “World’s Most Popular Cats”. Most of these series used some sort of multi-colour techique to apply a design to the central area of the reverses – some may find the results less than attractive.
(The emphasis is mine.) I, for one, can’t wait to see the newly commissioned notes. What can we expect? The mind, frankly, boggles. Suggestions anyone?