One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The basic monetary unit of Angola, equal to 100 lwei.
- ‘The private weekly papers are difficult to come by outside of Luanda; in any case, a third of Angolan adults cannot read, and few can afford papers that sell on the street for 120 kwanzas.’
- ‘The US dollar is the most commonly used foreign currency and trades openly side by side with the kwanza (local currency), at the rate of 1 to 80 in March 2004.’
- ‘In contrast, the Angolan kwanza and the Nigerian naira have depreciated against the US dollar over the period which may have protected their competitiveness.’
- ‘On every street corner, gangs of female money changers wave fat wads of kwanzas in the air, the fluctuating exchange rate testimony to the vagaries of the war economy.’
- ‘The new kwanza, the national currency, is subject to high inflation rates.’
Perhaps from a Kiswahili word meaning ‘first’.
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