20 Countries with the Least Valuable Currencies In the World

Global trade is majorly facilitated with currencies such as the Euro, British Pound, Chinese Yen, and the U.S. Dollar. These currencies are generally accepted as the means of exchange for goods and services. They are also accepted as legal tender in some countries that are not the country of issue and of course, the U.S. dollar is used as a benchmark for commodities such as crude oil and gold.

On the flip side, there are some countries whose currencies are so cheap and low in value that just one U.S. dollar would be able to exchange for several hundred and even thousands of them. Such an unpleasant phenomenon is due to the interchange of market forces such as scarcity of foreign exchange. It may also be that the country has pursued a deliberate devaluation policy in order to achieve a positive trade balance.

Countries with the Least Valuable Currencies in the World

20. Rwandan Franc ($993)

  • Currency Code – RWF
  • Currency Symbol – FRw, RF, R₣
  • Bank Notes – 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 francs
  • Coins – 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 francs
  • Country of Issuance – Rwanda
  • Central Bank – National Bank of Rwanda
  • Inflation Rate – 15.4%

least valuable currencies in the world
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Rwanda is doing impressively well for a country that survived a bloody genocide. It has one of the buoyant economies on the African continent and also boasts of a stable political sphere. Despite this, the country’s currency suffered a 4.4% depreciation in the year 2020. The central bank attributed this depreciation to market forces which include a rising import bill, low commodity prices for the country’s exports, and reduced earnings from tourism.

19. South Korean Won ($1,100)

  • Currency Code – SKW
  • Currency Symbol – ₩
  • Bank Notes – ₩1,000, ₩5,000, ₩10,000, ₩50,000, ₩2,000
  • Coins – ₩10, ₩50, ₩100, ₩500, ₩1, ₩5
  • Country of Issuance – South Korea
  • Central Bank – Bank of Korea
  • Inflation Rate – 1.3%

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Buoyed by its strides in the industrial and technological sectors, South Korea is one of the richest countries in Asia and the globe. It, therefore, comes as a surprise to know that its currency ranks amongst some of the least valuable in the world. This paradox is explained by the fact that the country’s economy is highly dependent on trade. That high dependence means that the strengthening of the U.S. dollar affects the Won. The currency has also been adversely affected by the protracted trade war between China and the U.S.

18. Myanmar Kyat ($1,333)

  • Currency Code – MMK
  • Currency Symbol – K
  • Bank Notes – K50, K100, K200, K500, K1000, K5000, K10,00
  • Coins – K1, K5, K10, K50, K100
  • Country of Issuance – Myanmar
  • Central Bank – Central Bank of Myanmar
  • Inflation Rate – 7%

least valuable currencies in the world
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The Kyat is notorious for its volatility but it actually performed well during the covid-19 pandemic. Previously, many people in Myanmar preferred being paid in USD but for once, they found that their local currency was more reliable. This was due to the fact that stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions meant that money changers could not readily get the dollar supplies needed. It was therefore more reliable to have the local currency in order to be able to buy groceries and critical supplies such as drugs.

17. Iraqi Dinar ($1,461)

  • Currency Code – IQD
  • Currency Symbol – د.ع
  • Bank Notes – 250, 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 25,000, 50,000 dinars
  • Coins – 25, 50, 100 dinars
  • Country of Issuance – Iraq
  • Central Bank – Central Bank of Iraq
  • Inflation Rate – 1.79%

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The covid-19 pandemic severely impacted the crude oil market and as such, countries that were hugely dependent on it to generate revenue found themselves cash strapped. One of such countries was Iraq who was forced to dip hands into its reserves to pay salaries. They also devalued their currency in order to increase liquidity for their people. This did not go down well with the majority of the populace though and the government sent cops into the streets to quell any potential disturbance.

16. Lebanese Pound ($1,514)

  • Currency Code – LBP
  • Currency Symbol – ل.ل.
  • Bank Notes – 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 Lebanese Pounds
  • Coins – 250, 500, 100, 50, 25
  • Country of Issuance – Lebanon
  • Central Bank – Banque du Liban
  • Inflation Rate – 4.5%

least valuable currencies in the world
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Occupying the 16th spot on the list of countries with the cheapest currencies in the world is Lebanon. The country’s legal tender had always exchanged at a fixed rate to the dollar for several years. Things however worsened after the country defaulted on its $1.2 billion debt in 2020. The default had massive economic effects including a downturn in the value of the country’s currency. Lebanese banks were forced to restrict the number of dollars that depositors can withdraw while outbound transfers of the USD were also restricted.

15. Burundian Franc ($1,944)

  • Currency Code – BIF
  • Currency Symbol – FBu
  • Bank Notes – 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 francs
  • Coins – 1, 5, 10, 50 francs
  • Country of Issuance – Burundi
  • Central Bank – Banque de la Republique du Burundi
  • Inflation Rate – 4.4%

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The Burundian Franc exchanges for $1,944 officially but it goes for as much as $2,900 on the black market. The boom in the black market is fuelled by a lull in the country’s foreign aid receipts. After President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term despite protests from several quarters, several countries decided to withdraw their financial assistance. This meant that Burundians now find it hard to get USD for trade and have to rely on black marketers. These black marketers in turn go to other countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo to get dollars.

14. Congolese Franc ($1971)

  • Currency Code – CDF
  • Currency Symbol – FC
  • Bank Notes – 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 centimes, 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 francs
  • Coins – Nil
  • Country of Issuance – The Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Central Bank – Central Bank of the Congo
  • Inflation Rate – 41.5%

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Speaking of the Democratic Republic of Congo, it is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of natural resources but it is also one of the poorest due to political turmoil and protracted civil war. They have managed to survive nevertheless but their economy recently faced pressure as a result of low commodity prices for its major exports as well as a cutback on mining. This caused a dwindling in the country’s foreign reserves and their currency is worse off for it.

13. Tanzanian Shilling ($2,319)

  • Currency Code – TZS
  • Currency Symbol – TSh
  • Bank Notes – 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000 shilingi
  • Coins – 50, 100, 200, 500 shilingi
  • Country of Issuance – Tanzania
  • Central Bank – Bank of Tanzania
  • Inflation Rate – 5.6%

least valuable currencies in the world
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The Tanzanian economy is heavily reliant on the export of agricultural produce, such as coffee, cashew nuts, and cotton, for much-needed foreign exchange. It, therefore, means that when there is a steady inflow of this income, the shilling improves against the dollar as it did in 2020, gaining about 13%. However, on the flip side, when these agricultural inflows are affected, the country’s currency is also affected.

12. Colombian Peso ($3,527)

  • Currency Code – COP
  • Currency Symbol – $
  • Bank Notes – $2000, $5000, $10,000, $20,000, $50,000, $100,000
  • Coins – $50, $100, $200, $500, $1000
  • Country of Issuance – Colombia
  • Central Bank – Banco de la República
  • Inflation Rate – 3.03%

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Just like Iraq, Colombia is another country whose currency has suffered as a result of over-dependence on oil. The fall in the crude oil market in 2020 adversely affected the value of the peso. The currency is on the path to recovery though, if recent data is anything to go by. According to figures released in February 2021, the peso added 0.4% to its value as a result of high oil prices.

11. Ugandan Shilling ($3,691)

  • Currency Code – UGX
  • Currency Symbol – USh
  • Bank Notes – 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 shillings
  • Coins – 1, 2, 5, 10, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000 shillings
  • Country of Issuance – Uganda
  • Central Bank – Bank of Uganda
  • Inflation Rate – 4.7%
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The country with the 11th least valuable currency in the world is Uganda. The shilling faced some unpredictable times in 2020. In the early portions of the year, the currency depreciated by 3% as the covid-19 pandemic made investors reluctant to part with their dollars which led to increased outflows of investments. By the middle of the year, the shilling was able to recover some ground due to inflows from NGOs, remittances, and other offshore players.

10. Malagasy Ariary ($3,804)

  • Currency Code – MGA
  • Currency Symbol – Ar
  • Bank Notes – 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 Ar
  • Coins – 1, 2 iraimbilanja; 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 50 Ar
  • Country of Issuance – Madagascar
  • Central Bank – Banky Foiben’i Madagasikara
  • Inflation Rate – 8.8%

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The 10th least valuable currency in the world is the Malagasy Ariary. This beautiful nation depends on agriculture, textile, tourism, and mining to support its economy. There can be unavoidable contractions at times and this often ends up putting a strain on the country’s currency.

9. Cambodian Riel ($4,062)

  • Currency Code – KHR
  • Currency Symbol – ៛
  • Bank Notes – 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 riels
  • Coins – 50, 100, 200, 500 riels
  • Country of Issuance – Cambodia
  • Central Bank – National Bank of Cambodia
  • Inflation Rate – 1.4%

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Cambodia is one of those countries that allow citizens to use other international currencies alongside its national legal tender. This has made the dollar so popular there that most of their ATMs and banks pay out the USD while the local populace also uses it for routine things such as the purchase of groceries and payment of taxi fares. The majority of the workforce also get paid in USD as well. One does not need to be an economist to know that this cannot bode well for the local currency.

8. Paraguayan Guarani ($6926)

  • Currency Code – PYG
  • Currency Symbol – ₲
  • Bank Notes – 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 & 100,000 PYG
  • Coins – 50, 100, 500 & 1,000 guaraníes
  • Country of Issuance – Paraguay
  • Central Bank – Banco Central del Paraguay
  • Inflation Rate – 2%

least valuable currencies in the world
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Another Latin American nation that ranks amongst countries with the least valuable currencies in the world is Paraguay. This was part of the reasons that motivated the country to announce a plan to revalue its currency back in the year 2011. Sadly, that project has yet to see the light of day and the Guarani keeps on suffering.

7. Laotian Kip ($9,340)

  • Currency Code – LAK
  • Currency Symbol – ₭ or ₭N
  • Bank Notes – 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 kip
  • Coins – 10, 20, 50 att
  • Country of Issuance – Laos
  • Central Bank – Bank of the Lao P.D.R.
  • Inflation Rate – 3.06%

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Laos does not try to tweak the exchange rate of its currency but allows it to operate freely against other currencies. The country also allows the use of other currencies within its territory, including the Thai Bhat as well as the USD. The Kip is said to be inconvertible though, meaning you can’t exchange it for other currencies.

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6. Sierra Leonean Leone ($10,178)

  • Currency Code – SLL
  • Currency Symbol – Le
  • Bank Notes – 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 Leones
  • Coins – 10, 50, 100, 500 Leones
  • Country of Issuance – Sierra Leone
  • Central Bank – Bank of Sierra Leone
  • Inflation Rate – 11.1%

least valuable currencies in the world
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One Leone exchanges for as much as $10,178 making it one of the least valuable or, if you like, cheapest currencies in the world. The blame for this situation has been placed at the foot of the Sierra Leonean central bank governor. He is said to have printed billions of Leone notes and flooded the country with them. He is also accused of being in cohorts with USD black marketers.

5. Guinean Franc ($10,288)

  • Currency Code – GNF
  • Currency Symbol – FG/Fr/GFr
  • Bank Notes – 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 francs
  • Coins – 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 francs
  • Country of Issuance – Guinea
  • Central Bank – Central Bank of the Republic of Guinea
  • Inflation Rate – 7.9%

least valuable currencies in the world
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The West African nation of Guinea is heavily reliant on mining to get foreign exchange and any slowdown in that sector impacts the country’s currency. Another thing that is responsible for Franc’s present dilemma is black market speculation. This has prompted the government to crack down on BDCs in an attempt to curb that.

4. Uzbekistani Soʻm ($10,471)

  • Currency Code – UZS
  • Currency Symbol – лв
  • Bank Notes – 1000, 5000, 10,000, 50,000, 100,000 Soʻm
  • Coins – 50, 100, 200, 500 Soʻm
  • Country of Issuance – Uzbekistan
  • Central Bank – Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan
  • Inflation Rate – 8.5%

Uzbekistani Soʻm
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The Soʻm has witnessed double-digit devaluation in recent times due to increased demand for the dollar, but analysts have pointed out that this will have a good effect on the Uzbekistani economy in the long run. This is because the USD is being utilized to purchase machinery and equipment, two things that are guaranteed to drive future economic growth.

3. Indonesian Rupiah ($14,072)

  • Currency Code – IDR
  • Currency Symbol – Rp
  • Bank Notes – Rp1000, Rp2000, Rp5000, Rp10000, Rp20000, Rp50000, Rp100000
  • Coins – Rp100, Rp200, Rp500, Rp1,000
  • Country of Issuance – Indonesia
  • Central Bank – Bank Indonesia
  • Inflation Rate – 3.30%

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In January 2020, the Rupiah was one of the best-performing currencies in Asia. Just three months later, it had become one of the worst. This was as a result of the fear of the probability of recession which made many investors dump billions worth of bonds and hundreds of millions worth of shares. The country’s government was also to blame as they did not provide a stimulus package in the budget to tackle the fallout of the pandemic.

2. Vietnamese Dong ($23,070)

  • Currency Code – VND
  • Currency Symbol – ₫/đ
  • Bank Notes – 500₫, 1,000₫, 2,000₫, 5,000₫, 10,000₫, 20,000₫, 50,000₫, 100,000₫, 200,000₫, 500,000₫
  • Coins – 200₫, 500₫, 1000₫, 2000₫, 5000₫
  • Country of Issuance – Vietnam
  • Central Bank – State Bank of Vietnam
  • Inflation Rate – 2.7%

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Vietnam is another excellent example of a country that has one of the least valuable currencies in the world due to a deliberate government policy of undervaluing it. That policy has resulted in a highly-positive current account balance as well as a healthy trade surplus with the U.S. The Americans are not finding this funny though and have labeled Vietnam a currency manipulator.

1. Iranian Rial ($42,105)

  • Currency Code – IRR
  • Currency Symbol – ﷼
  • Bank Notes – 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 500,000 ﷼
  • Coins – 250, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 ﷼
  • Country of Issuance – Iran
  • Central Bank – Central Bank of Iran
  • Inflation Rate – 30.5%

least valuable currencies in the world
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The country with the least valuable currency in the world is Iran. Iran’s woes are due to the long-standing western sanctions that have crippled several aspects of its economy. These sanctions stem from an attempt to ensure that the country halts its nuclear program. Iran has however insisted that it is only enriching uranium for purposes of electricity and other peaceful uses.

Recap of the Countries with the Least Valuable Currencies in the World and their USD Exchange Rate

1. Iranian Rial – $42,105

2. Vietnamese Dong – $23,070

3. Indonesian Rupiah – $14,072

4. Uzbekistani Soʻm – $10,471

5. Guinean Franc – $10,288

6. Sierra Leonean Leone – $10,178

7. Laotian Kip – $9,340

8. Paraguayan Guarani – $6926

9. Cambodian Riel – $4,062

10. Malagasy Ariary – $3,804

11. Ugandan Shilling – $3,691

12. Colombian Peso – $3,527

13. Tanzanian Shilling – $2,319

14. Congolese Franc – $1,971

15. Burundian Franc – $1,944

16. Lebanese Pound – 1,514

17. Iraqi Dinar – $1,461

18. Myanmar Kyat – $1,333

19. South Korean Won – $1,100

20. Rwandan Franc – $993

Ngozika Agu
Ngozika can turn any personal finance or entertainment information into an exciting, delightful and compelling article that informs and educates, she can quickly turn random letters into epic stories that not only entertain but also inspires or motivates


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