The Malagasy ariary is the official currency of Madagascar. This currency has the ISO standard code of MGA and is subdivided into 5 iraimbilanja. Madagascar is one of the two countries which hold a non – decimal type of currency. The name ariary and iraimbilanja were derived from the pre–colonial currency. Ariary is named for a silver dollar while iraimbilanja literally pertains to “one iron weight”. The latter was named after the 1/5 worth of an ariary old coin.
Introduced in the year 1961, the ariary was equivalent to 5 francs. Issued coins and banknotes at that time both came in both francs and ariary. The sub – unit of ariary, the iraimbilanja, is worth 1/5 of an ariary.
Before, franc denominations were favored but in the year 1978, higher-valued coins were issued in the denominations of ariary alone. The banknotes, issued in the 31st of July year 2003, came prominently in ariary currency while the franc denominations came in small prints. It was not later than the 1st of January 2005 when ariary was named the official currency of the country over the franc currency.
In the year 1965, 1 and 2 franc coins were issued first, followed by the 5 francs which is said to be equivalent to 1 ariary in the year 1966. The 10 and 20 franc coins were later introduced in the year 1970. By 1978, the 10 and 20 ariary coins were issued and circulated. These coins were shown not to have any denomination in francs. Later, non-franc denomination coins of 5, 10, 20 and 50 ariary followed the trend in 1992. By 2003 – 2004 most 1 and 2 ariary coins do not bear any franc denominations.
As for the face of the banknotes in the history of such currency, the Malagasy Institute for Emissions introduced such notes under the denominations of 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 francs. These actual notes were said to be the overprints of earlier notes provided by the Bank of Madagascar and Comoros which issued notes under the ariary denomination of 10, 20, 100, 200 and 1000.
It was not later than the year 1974 that the Central Bank of the Malagasy Republic took over the issuance of notes. In the year 1983, the bank’s name was changed to Central Bank of Madagascar which issued the new series of notes including the 10, 000-franc notes. The battle between francs and ariary in being the country’s currency continued between the years 1993 to 1998.
Bouncing powers of denomination between ariary and francs were seen throughout these years. The battle continued throughout 2003 to 2004 and only ended in the year 2005. In the latter year, ariary won as Madagascar’s official currency.
The battle of powerful currencies had been stretched out in the entire history of Madagascar’s currency. The evolution of coins and notes were greatly influenced by these battles. The unique thing about the currency is that instead of holding within its prints the history of the place, it had been holding the secrets and battles commenced between the two currencies of Madagascar. Today, one US dollar is equivalent to 1,971.40 Malagasy Ariary (MGA).