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Total commemorative banknotes issued is under 1,500 pieces. If you have achieved any figures close to this, then you are doing extremely well, as many of the older commemorative notes are hard to find even in poor conditions.

Opinion: Many collectors of commemorative banknotes would have come across with those Somaliland sets overprinted with gold and silver texts with the following wordings - 5th Anniversary of Independence 18 May 1996 [Sanad Gurade 5ee Gobanimadda 18 May 1996]. I believe these are "home made" (or fake) and not authorised by the central bank. My argument is simple. No central bank would have issued an overprint commemorative banknote that the texts are so large that it would cover the two signatures on the note as well as part of the serial numbers. Even if these are genuine notes, then these could be issued as souvenir sheets and not as legal tender. As I said before, this is my opinion. If you have paid top dollars for these, please think about my argument. There is always a sucker around the corner, including me of course!

All comments are most welcome but it has to be subjects related to banknotes or banknotes collection. If not, it will not be approved. Thanks

11 December 2020

.Saudi Arabia - 20 Riyals 2020 G20 Summit Commemorative

ٱلْمَمْلَكَة ٱلْعَرَبِيَّة ٱلسَّعُوْدِيَّة
(The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)

Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA)
Currency - Riyal (SAR)

The is a new commemorative note of 20 riyals issued on 25/10/2020. This note was issued to celebrate Saudi Arabia's presidency for hosting the G20 or Group of Twenty Summit held at Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia on 21-22 of November 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Summit was held via video link (virtual summit). This is the first time such a summit was held by an Arab nation. 

The G20 Summit comprises 19 member countries and the European Union. The meeting was attended by world leaders (President/Chairman/Prime Ministers) of each of the represented countries. The G20 was founded on 26/09/1999 with the group of most industrialised nations to discuss financial and socioeconomic issues that are critical to the world economy. The economic recovery due to the Covid-19 pandemic was one of the top topics for this summit. This is the 15th meeting held since it was founded. As the meeting was held in Saudi Arabia, the host and the Chairman of this summit was the Saudi ruler, King Salam bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The member countries attended this meeting were Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia (host), South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, the United States and the rest of the European Union. The European Union was represented by the Presidents of the EU Commission and the European Council.

In addition to the above, leaders/representatives of other organisations such as the African Union (AU), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Spain, United Nations, World Bank Group, World Trade Organisation and others also participated in this summit.

Prior to this summit, the last meeting was held in Osaka in 2019 and the next summit will be held in Rome Italy in 2021. Whilst the G20 was first founded in 1999, the first summit was held in 2008 in Washington DC in the United States of America.

This is the first time a commemorative banknote is issued to celebrate the G20 summit. In 2000, Japan issued a 2000 yen and it was said to be a commemorative note for the occasions of celebrating the end of the second millennium and also the G8 summit held in Okinawa (26th G8 summit 21-23 of July 2000), however no text or commemorative logo were printed on this note.

This note is printed with the Islamic year date of ١٤٤٢ (1442 Hijri) on the front and the Gregorian year of 2020 on the back.

This is the third commemorative banknote issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency. The first two commemorative notes were issued in 1999 celebrating the centennial of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It should also be noted that this is the second banknote denomination of 20 riyals issued by SAMA. The first time was the 1999 commemorative issue celebrating the Kingdom's 100th year anniversary.

Governor - Dr Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey (since May 2016);
Minister of Finance - Mohammed Al-Jadaan (since November 2016);
Dimensions - 152mm x 69mm;
Watermark - King Salam bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques;

Front - King Salam bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the G20 Saudi Arabia 2020 Summit logo
Back -  Map of the world showing the 19 country members in darker shades and the European Union. 

As I do not read Arabic writing, it was reported that on the front it also printed the slogan Saudi Presidency of G20 in 3D design. While many central banks may have issued banknotes with their respective country's map showing as part of the designs, this is the only banknote I believe that has the entire world map printed on it and with the capital city of Riyadh represented by an emanated bean which symbolises the meeting venue. The map highlights the 19 member nations but not the rest of the European Union members.

Twenty Riyals
Dated 2020, King Salam bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia
Reverse - map of the world

A country's sovereignty is always a very sensitive issue, especially when they are having territories dispute with other nations, and the design of this note is in no exception. Two days after this note was released, India reacted with outrage towards the new 20 riyals commemorative banknote and lodged a protest against the wrongful depiction of India's external boundaries on the map. On the back of the note (the artistically rendered world map), the territories of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh which have been in dispute between India, Pakistan and China since 1947, all showing as independent states (see below) and not part of India's territories (or even Pakistan or China). So, why did Saudi Arabia decide to show these territories as independent states? Is Saudi Arabia trying to snub India, Pakistan and China by showing Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are all as independent nations? Perhaps this is the best option when one does not want to get involved in others external affairs. By showing all three countries' currently occupied positions on these territories would simply mean that Saudi Arabia is recognising their current territories claimed positions. Is India expecting all these territories to be shown as part of India even though they are also partly occupied by Pakistan and China? I am sure both Pakistan and China are also not too happy with the design too. Perhaps to avoid this, Saudi Arabia should not have shaded all the G20 nation members and I believed the easiest and simplest way of showing who the members of the G20 on the note are is to just print the name (see below) of these countries on the map respectively without showing any international boundaries. So far only India has openly asked Saudi Arabia to take the corrective steps to correct the error. Since the protest by India, the Saudi Arabian authority, on 20/11/2020, agreed to withdraw the notes and undertake not to print them anymore with the 'incorrect' map. Despite Saudi Arabia's announcement, the notes have not been officially withdrawn yet but I have been told that SAMA has stopped distributing them to the local bank since 08/11/2020.

highlighted area showing disputing territory

So, what do you think about this 20 riyals note? To India, Pakistan and perhaps to China, is this an error note?

The current position is that India is controlling about 55% land area of the region that includes Jammu, Kashmir and most of Ladakh. Pakistan controls about 30% of the land area that includes Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and the remaining 15% is controlled by China (mainly Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract - previously part of Gilgit-Baltistan). The dispute between India and Pakistan started following the partitioning of India in 1947 when both India and Pakistan claimed the entire former princely states of Jammu and Kashmir. These two neighboring countries also went to war three times in 1947, 1965 and 1999 because of these unresolved disputes; and India and China also fought a war briefly for 32 days in 1962 for their land disputes too. Since then, many armed skirmishes took place from time to time between Pakistan and India; India and China and the most recent skirmish happened between India and China was in May 2020. In general, there is a saying that possession is nine-tenths of the law. I do not expect to see any changes or any amicable agreements reached between these disputing parties in the near future, unless someone decided to give these all up and I honestly do not believe this will ever be happening.

Most of the reported news only mentioned India's disapproval of the design on the note and not Pakistan or China. 

Double click onto the image to view a larger scan

My Personal Opinion;
For those who are reading this, and not happy for what I have written, please do not get upset as I am totally neutral here. I am not trying to be political here nor am I in favor or supporting one country against the others for these long and outstanding land disputes. I am very happy to see the design of this note with an artistically rendered world map and I believe this is the first time for any banknotes issued showing a world map since the Chinese Tang Dynasty developed the first paper money in the 7th century. Unfortunately this note did not go well with the government and the people of India because of the design. I was told many years ago that Kashmir was a very beautiful place to visit and it is a pity the people living in this region are still unable to find peace and tranquility after so many years because of all these disputes. As an outsider, I can only hope that one day all the disputing parties can sit down in a room and iron out all the issues between themselves once and for all peacefully! In my opinion, this is a huge ask. There are still more than 100 cases of land disputes outstanding around the world that many people may not have heard of. What made these disputes between Pakistan, India and China more well known than all the others was that they went to wars when tension escalated. Few well known territories disputes around the world are still unresolved such as the South China sea, the Korean peninsula, the rock of Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Spain and Morocco and so on. Even the United States has unresolved land disputes with Canada and Mexico and all these will never end for a very long time. . . .

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