On July 31, the president of Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sisi reviewed samples of the newest plastic Egyptian Pound, set to be in circulation for the end of 2021.
In November, Egyptians will be able to use money made of synthetic polymer, or polypropylene, a widely used material that can be found in food packaging, polyester clothes or payment cards.
The banknotes of £10 and £20 (US $0.64 and $1.28) will start to be in circulation with polymer along with the older versions of the money made with paper.
Banknotes are usually made with cotton-fiber paper but about thirty countries such as Canada, Singapore or the United Kingdom already use thermoplastic to print money. Australia was the first country to fully adopt polymer banknotes in 1996. Egypt is the country with the fourth largest population to use polymer banknotes after Nigeria, Russia and Mexico.
Polymer banknotes harder to forge
The United States, China, Japan or the European Union use paper banknotes. The United States have a blend of 75% cotton and 25% linen. China only has a commemorative note made of polymer. Japan produces its banknote from mitsumata, a plant used to make paper in Japan.
Banknotes have a shorter lifespan than coins. However, polymer banknotes, which can be recycled, tend to be less easily torn and cleaner than the paper-based ones. Thought to be more adapted to high temperatures and levels of humidity, Nigeria yet considered phasing off polymer banknotes in 2013 because of a bad experience with the money. Harder to fold, more expensive to print, the notes can become sticky with very hot temperatures.
Countries usually introduce the most common banknotes or with the lowest value first as they are more widely used and subject to deterioration.
More sophisticated, polymer banknotes are also more difficult to counterfeit. Banknotes made of a mix of polymer and paper, with a small band of plastic to avoid forgery, are also in circulation in many countries
Egypt will be able to manufacture its currency by itself as the Central Bank of Egypt completed the construction of the new printing press in January 2021 in the new administrative capital, east of Cairo.