What to know about the New GHS 5 note

The GHS 5 commemorative note is issued by Bank of Ghana to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Bank of Ghana. The theme for the celebration is “Celebrating 60 years of Central Banking in Ghana (1957 – 2017)

The design of the GHS5 commemorative note draws inspiration from significant milestones and achievements in Ghana‟s socio-political history by one of the illustrious sons of this country, Dr James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey (Dr J. E. K.Aggrey) whose portrait is depicted on the GHS5 Commemorative Banknote.

As an ordained Reverend Minister, Dr J.E. K. Aggrey‟s contribution to national development was most notable in the educational sector which went beyond the boundaries of the Gold Coast.

Who is Dr Kwegyir Aggrey?

Dr J. E. K. Aggrey is an icon of nationalism, intellectualism, philosophy, missionary work and education. He was born to Kwadwo Kwegyir, a very influential elder in the Council of Amonu IV, Paramount Chief of Anomabo and Abena Andua on October 18, 1875, in Anomabo.

On November 8, 1905, he married Miss Rose Douglas of Portsmouth, Virginia and their union was blessed with four children (two boys and two girls).

Dr J. E. K. Aggrey was largely influenced by his socio-cultural background during his growing years in Anomabo, and his personal drive and ambition to expand his horizon beyond his village settings.
At age 9, he articulated his vision, “I will be a spokesman for my entire country, Africa, my Africa”.

Due to his academic potentials, he became a temporary teacher at age 15 and was subsequently appointed acting Headmaster at Abura Dunkwa School. Having passed the Teachers‟ Certificate Examinations with distinction, Dr J. E. K. Aggrey was appointed the Headmaster of his former school at Abura Dunkwa in 1896 at the age of 21. In addition, he was appointed as an assistant translator, interpreter and a printer of the Fante Bible.

In 1898, Dr J. E. K. Aggrey left the shores of Gold Coast to further his education in the United States of America (USA). Whiles in the USA, he was appointed a member of the Phelps-Stoke African Education Commission whose work in West Africa led to the establishment of Achimota College in Gold Coast. Dr J. E. K. Aggrey together with Rev. Alexander Garden Fraser and Sir Gordon Guggisburg (Governor of the Gold Coast from 1919 to 1927) founded the Achimota College in 1924 as an elite Secondary School based on the British model of public
Dr J. E. K. Aggrey was appointed the first Vice Principal of the College when it was established in 1924 and served in that position till he left the shores in Gold Coast for further studies in the USA in May 1927. On January 28, 1927, the College was formally opened for admissions of students.

As part of his academic pursuits and advocacy works, he made several statements during his presentations on different fora. One of his famous quotes “If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a whole nation” became synonymous with the admission of girls into Achimota College.

Another famous quote attributed to him thus “You can play a tune of sort on the white piano keys, and you can play a tune of sort on the black keys, but for real harmony, you must use both the black and white keys” was adopted
as the emblem of Achimota College.
Whilst in the United States to complete his Columbia doctoral thesis on British relations with Africa, he suddenly fell ill and died from “pneumococcus meningitis” in Harlem Hospital on July 30, 1927.

Dr J. E. K. Aggrey made a significant impression and underscored the importance of education among some people who would become important figures in Africa, including Hastings Kamuzu Banda, later president of Malawi, Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first president of Nigeria and Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah (the first president
of Ghana).


The GHS5 Commemorative Banknote has the following features at the obverse and reverses sides of the note:

Obverse (Front View)

1. The Portrait of Dr J.E.K Aggrey.
2.  The Celebration theme: “Celebrating 60 years of central banking in Ghana 1957 – 2017.

Reverse (Back View)

  1. There is also the cowry (shell money) or what is originally called „sedee‟ from which the national currency „The Cedi‟ was derived; and
  2. The Cocoa pod and Gold Bars which reflects their economic importance to the Ghanaian economy.
  3. The FPSO Nkrumah, the drill ship and the oil rig, which represents the
    economic importance of oil to the Ghanaian economy.