The pula is the currency of Botswana. It has the ISO 4217 code BWP and is subdivided into 100 thebe. Pula literally means "rain" in Setswana, because rain is very scarce in Botswana — home to much of the Kalahari Desert — and therefore valuable and a blessing. The word also serves as the national motto of the country.
|Banknotes||10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 pula|
|Coins||5, 10, 25, 50 thebe, 1, 2, 5 pula|
|Central bank||Bank of Botswana|
|Inflation||2.8% (May 2016)|
|Source||Bank of Botswana, 7 July 2016|
The pula was introduced in 1976, replacing the South African rand at par.
In 1976, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 thebe and 1 pula. The 1 thebe was struck in aluminium, with the 5 thebe in bronze and the others in cupro-nickel. These coins were round except for the scalloped 1 pula. Bronze, dodecagonal 2 thebe coins were introduced in 1981 and discontinued after 1985. In 1991, bronze-plated steel replaced bronze in the 5 thebe, nickel-plated steel replaced cupro-nickel in the 10, 25 and 50 thebe and the 1 pula changed to a smaller, nickel-brass, equilateral-curve seven-sided coin. A similarly shaped, nickel-brass 2 pula was introduced in 1994. In 2004, the composition was changed to brass-plated steel and the size was slightly reduced.
Following the withdrawal of the 1 and 2 thebe in 1991 and 1998 respectively, smaller 5, 10, 25 and 50 thebe coins were introduced, with the 5 and 25 thebe coins being seven-sided and the 10 and 50 thebe coins remaining round.  A bimetallic 5 pula depicting a mopane caterpillar and a branch of the mopane tree it feeds on was introduced in 2000 composed of a cupronickel center in a ring made of aluminium-nickel-bronze.
A new series of coins was introduced in 2013.
|Botswana pula coins|
|1 thebe||Aluminum||18.5 mm||0.8 g||1.22 mm||Smooth||1976-1991||July 1, 2014|
|2 thebe||Bronze||17.4 mm (dodecagonal)||1.8 g||1.05 mm||Smooth||1981-1985||July 1, 2014|
|5 thebe||Bronze||19.5 mm||2.8 g||1.17 mm||Reeded||1976-1989||July 1, 2014|
|5 thebe||Bronze-plated steel||19.5 mm||2.8 g||1.28 mm||Smooth or reeded||1991-1996||July 1, 2014|
|5 thebe||Bronze-plated steel||17 mm (heptagonal)||2.41 g||1.75 mm||Smooth||1998-2009||July 1, 2014|
|5 thebe||Nickel-plated steel||18 mm (heptagonal)||2.218 g||1.3 mm||Smooth||2013||No|
|10 thebe||Copper-nickel||22 mm||4 g||1.33 mm||Reeded||1976-1989||July 1, 2014|
|10 thebe||Nickel-plated steel||22 mm||3.8 g||Reeded||1991||July 1, 2014|
|10 thebe||Nickel-plated steel||18 mm||2.8 g||1.75 mm||Reeded||1998-2008||July 1, 2014|
|10 thebe||Nickel-plated steel||20 mm||2.8 g||1.4 mm||Reeded||2013||No|
|25 thebe||Copper-nickel||25 mm||5.8 g||Reeded||1976-1989||July 1, 2014|
|25 thebe||Nickel-plated steel||25 mm||5.73 g||Reeded||1991||July 1, 2014|
|25 thebe||Nickel-plated steel||20 mm (heptagonal)||3.5 g||1.8 mm||Smooth||1998-2009||July 1, 2014|
|25 thebe||Nickel-plated steel||22 mm (heptagonal)||4.2 g||1.6 mm||Smooth||2013||No|
|50 thebe||Copper-nickel||28 mm||11.4 g||2.3 mm||Reeded||1976-1985||July 1, 2014|
|50 thebe||Copper-nickel||28 mm||11.4 g||2.3 mm||Reeded||1976-1985||July 1, 2014|
|50 thebe||Nickel-plated steel||28 mm||11.4 g||1991||July 1, 2014|
||50 thebe||Nickel-plated steel||21.3 mm||4.82 g||2.2 mm||Smooth||1996-2001||July 1, 2014|
|50 thebe||Nickel-plated steel||24 mm||5.3 g||1.8 mm||Reeded||2013||No|
|1 pula||Copper-nickel||29.5 mm; scalloped (with 12 notches)||16.4 g||Smooth||1976-1987||July 1, 2014|
|1 pula||Nickel-brass||24 mm (heptagonal)||8.8 g||2.7 mm||Segmented (10 reeds per 7 sections)||1991-2007||July 1, 2014|
|1 pula||Bronze-plated steel||26 mm||7.8 g||Smooth||2013-2016||No|
|2 pula||Nickel-brass||26.4 mm (heptagonal)||6.3 g||2.4 mm||Segmented (19 reeds per 7 sections)||1994||July 1, 2014|
||2 pula||brass-plated steel||24.6 mm (heptagonal)||6.02 g||2 mm||Segmented (19 reeds per 7 sections)||2004||July 1, 2014|
|2 pula||Bi-metallic; bronze-plated steel in center, nickel-plated steel in ring||27 mm||7.3 g||2 mm||Reeded||2013-2016||no|
|5 pula||Bi-metallic; copper-nickel in center, brass in ring||23.5 mm||6 g||2 mm||Reeded||2000-2007||July 1, 2014|
|5 pula||Bi-metallic; copper-nickel in center, brass in ring||28 mm||8.7 g||2.2 mm||Segmented||2013-2016||no|
On August 23, 1976, the Bank of Botswana introduced notes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, and 10 pula; a 20-pula note followed on February 16, 1978. The 1 and 2 pula notes were replaced by coins in 1991 and 1994, whilst the first 50 and 100 pula notes were introduced on May 29, 1990 and August 23, 1993, respectively. The 5 pula note was replaced by a coin in 2000. The original 1, 2 and 5 pula banknotes were demonetized on 1 July 2011.
The current series of notes was introduced on 23 August 2009 and contains for the first time, a 200-pula banknote.
In response to the concern of the poor quality of the paper of the 10 pula banknote, the Bank of Botswana revealed a 10 pula banknote in polymer in November 2017 and was issued to the public on February 1, 2018.
|Banknotes of the Botswana pula (2009 issue)|
|10 pula||Green||President Seretse Khama Ian Khama||Parliament building, Gaborone||Rampant zebra and electrotype 10|
|20 pula||Red||Kgalemang Tumediso Motsete||Mining equipment||Rampant zebra and electrotype 20|
|50 pula||Brown||President Sir Seretse Khama||Okavango Delta swamps, boat, fish eagle||Rampant zebra and electrotype 50|
|100 pula||Blue||Three chiefs (Sebele I, Bathoen I, Khama III)||Diamond sorting, open-pit diamond mine||Rampant zebra and electrotype 100|
|200 pula||Purple||Female teacher and children||Zebras||Rampant zebra and electrotype 200|
|Current BWP exchange rates|
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Due to hyperinflation in Zimbabwe in 2006 to 2008, the government has allowed circulation of foreign currency since September 2008. Local currency became obsolete on April 12, 2009. Several currencies, including the South African rand and Botswana pula circulate in Zimbabwe, along with the Zimbabwean bond notes.
The Botswana Pula became widely known internationally through numerous references in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, making it possible for readers worldwide to get an idea of the Pula's purchasing power.
- "Accessed 2009-09-02". Banknotenews.com. Retrieved 2011-11-28.
- Alongside Zimbabwean dollar (suspended indefinitely from 12 April 2009), euro, US dollar, pound sterling, South African rand, Indian rupee, Australian dollar, Chinese yuan and Japanese yen. The US dollar has been adopted as the official currency for all government transactions in Zimbabwe.
- Masire, Ketumile (2006). Very brave or very foolish?. Macmillan Botswana. p. 81. ISBN 978-99912-404-8-0.
Pula (rain) was an easy choice for the currency, and the decimal coins were called thebe (shield).(Memoirs of a former president of Botswana)
- Standard Chartered Review. Standard Chartered Bank. 1976. p. 9.
The new names pula and thebe were chosen following an invitation to the public to submit their suggestions [...] The meaning of "thebe" is shield — the traditional means of defence.
- "OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE NEW FAMILY OF BOTSWANA COIN AT BANK OF BOTSWANA CASH MANAGEMENT CENTRE GABORONE BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT" (PDF). 27 February 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
- Linzmayer, Owen (2011). "Botswana". The Banknote Book. San Francisco, CA: www.BanknoteNews.com. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
- Botswana issues new note series, BanknoteNews.com, Retrieved 2011-09-05.
- Lekopanye Mooketsi (15 February 2019). "Khama Launches New Bank Notes". Retrieved 17 February 2019.
- Krause, Chester L.; Clifford Mishler (1991). Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801–1991 (18th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0873411501.
- Pick, Albert (1994). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money: General Issues. Colin R. Bruce II and Neil Shafer (editors) (7th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-207-9.
- Schön, Günter und Gerhard, Weltmünzkatalog 1900–2010, 39. Auflage, 2011, Battenberg Gietl Verlag, ISBN 978-3-86646-057-7