10. South African Rand
The Rand has had a lot of flack for its devaluation over the past couple of years. I already wrote about a few countries worse off than the Rand, so now let’s take a look at the other end of the spectrum: African countries who’s currencies are stronger than the Rand. Now before you feel the urge to launch into a News24-comments-section-style-SA-self-loathing tirade, check out the reasons listed in the description of each, many of them have little merit to their strength.
9. Botswanan Pula – R1.20
An obvious one is Botswana. The Pula has been stronger than the Rand for some years now and the country’s economy and political structure is often lauded as a shining example of how an African democracy can work. 1 Pula will cost you around R1.20, though this is not as bad as it was in around 2004 where it would have have cost you 20 cents extra.
8. Egyptian Pound – R1.50
Another example which has long been stronger than the Rand, Egypt, despite all its political turmoil has been able to retain a lot of its country’s currency value. 1 Egyptian Pound will cost you around R1.50.
7. Libyan Dinar – R8.53
Yet another country in political turmoil with a strong currency is Libya. Perhaps it’s oil which is keeping things afloat but one Libyan Dinar will set you back around R8.53 currently, making it the strongest currency in Africa.
6. Tunisia Dinar – R6.65
Recovering from its status as the birthplace of the Arab Spring, Tunisia’s Dinar gained almost 20% against the Rand this year. One Tunisian Dinar will now cost you around R6.65.
5. Moroccan Dirham – R1.29
Rubbing shoulders with Europe, Morocco is in the news as much for illegal immigrants trying to smash down the border
is shares with Spain as it is for its exotic culture and beautiful scenery. Morocco’s currency wasn’t always as strong against the Rand, in fact it was as recently at October 2012 when the Rand was more valuable. 1 Moroccan Dirham will cost you R1.29 currently.
4. Ghanaian Cedi – R3.79
A very surprising example of a strong African currency, Ghana’s Cedi. Ghana is well known for its extensive natural resources, namely Gold from it’s Ashanti region (hence the Anglo-Ashanti gold company famous in South Africa). This one is actually a cheat though, the Cedi is actually in its 3rd rendition under the same name as the currency has been revalued a couple of times. The most recent revaluation was 2007 and it’s lost almost 50% of it’s value against the Rand since then, so the current rate of R3.79 for 1 Cedi shouldn’t last long.
3. Sudanese Pound – R1.85
Another story very similar to the Ghanaian one is that of the Sudanese Pound. Revalued successively during its post-colonial period, the most recent revaluation came in 2011 following the independence of the oil rich Southern half of the country which became South Sudan. The Sudanese Pound is now worth R1.85, but likely not for long.
2. Eritrean Nakfa – R1.01
A country you probably haven’t heard from before, it split from Ethiopia in the early 90’s but has a currency, roughly on the same value as ours. This is only a recent development though since the beginning of 2014 and is as a result of the currency being pegged to the US Dollar. 1 Nakfa will cost you R1.01.
1. Zambian Kwacha – R1.73
The country formally known as the colony of Northern Rhodesia has sadly never been known as an economic success story and at a stage had an exchange rate of 1 US Dollar = 5120 Kwacha. The currency was revalued in January 2013 and until recently 1 Kwacha cost over R2, today 1 Kwacha buys you only R1.73