The local currency is the Ethiopian birr, made up of 100 cents. Notes are issued in denominations of 1,5, 10, 50, and 100 birr. There are five different coins: 1,5, 10, 25, and 50 cents. In 2018, 28.19 birr were equivalent to one US dollar.
There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency imported to Ethiopia, but it must be declared on the currency declaration form obtained on arrival. Foreign currency may be changed only at authorized banks and hotels. The currency declaration form must be retained as this will be required by Customs on departure. Participants cannot take out of the country more that USD3,000.00. Bank receipts for money changed at the airport must be kept securely, since customs authorities may require you to present those receipts upon departure also.
Visitors may change back any excess Ethiopian birr to foreign currency at the airport before departure. If you do have birr to cash in at the airport, you must, in addition to the currency declaration form, bring with you all receipts for exchange transactions.
Banks have two sets of hours: cash and business. They are open for cash transactions all day from 08.00 to 15.00 including lunchtime Monday to Friday and Saturday 08.00 to 12.00.
Business hours are from 08.00 to 12.00 and 13.00 to 17.00 Monday through Thursday and 08.00 to 11.00 and 13.00 to 17.00 on Friday. All the major banks offer currency exchange. The two private banks have similar working hours.
Some credit cards are accepted in the major hotels and some of the larger restaurants. American Express is the most widely accepted. The Sheraton and Hilton also accept Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, Access, and Eurocard.