Egyptians see uncanny similarity in their new 10-pound banknotes

The updated polymer bills have impressed many but some say they look too much like the UK's own 'tenner'

The new notes, designed by UK company De La Rue, are tear-proof, waterproof and crumple-proof. Photo: Central Bank of Egypt
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A new, British-designed Egyptian banknote has been both praised and panned — with some claiming it looks too similar to the UK's own 10-pound note.

Released into circulation last week, the Egyptian 10-pound note, worth $0.53, is the latest update of the country’s currency.

The polymer bill was designed and produced by British company De La Rue, which specialises in security features for banknotes.

On Wednesday, it congratulated the Central Bank of Egypt on the launch of the new banknote, saying it was “the start of the transition of more denominations to polymer”.

Announced by the Central Bank in 2019, polymer banknotes were initially planned for circulation in 2020. However, this was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Central Bank said the new notes would not replace the old ones, which will remain in circulation.

Its officials told the Egyptian financial dailyِ Al Mal that 2 billion of the new banknotes had been issued so far.

The previous version of Egypt's 10-pound banknote, which will remain in circulation alongside the new polymer version. Photo: Kamal Tabikha / The National

The Central Bank also said that a new 20-pound polymer banknote would be printed in the coming months but did not give an exact date.

Although the new 10-pound notes have generally been received positively by Egyptians, some criticised its similarity to Britain's own 10-pound note, which not only has the same colour scheme but also features two identical fonts.

Social media channels were flooded with complaints that the authorities failed to use the country's wealth of designers to craft an original banknote that displayed the talent of Egyptians.

“Looks like we traced the new 10-pound banknote from the Sterling 10-pound banknote. Why does everything here resemble something from elsewhere?," Abdullah, a resident of Egypt's Red Sea coast, wrote on Twitter.

"We got used to films and music being similar, but now it’s our money too?”

However, many Egyptians have been impressed with how difficult the new banknote is to crumple as well as its resistance to water and tearing.

Videos on social media showed Egyptians testing out the new currency by trying to tear it, washing it with water and crumpling it.

Many also commented on the transparent panel in the new banknote, the first time this feature has been seen in Egypt, although it is already common in other countries.

The bill features one of the New Administrative Capital’s most prominent landmarks, the Fattah El ‘Aleem Mosque — one of the largest in the world. On the other side is a bust of Egypt’s first female pharaoh, Queen Hatshepsut, who lived between 1507 and 1458 BC.

According to the Central Bank, the new banknotes will be available at ATMs nationwide in the coming weeks.

Egypt's first 10-pound banknote has been received with mixed reviews from the nation's populace, many of whom have remarked on its similarity in colour scheme and identical fonts to the British 10-pound banknote. Central Bank of Egypt.
Updated: July 11, 2022, 1:37 PM