Several questionable websites have falsely claimed that banknotes of the United States dollar that have been printed prior to 2021 will not be considered legal tender starting January 31, 2023. This move, they claim, is a step in an attempt to curb illegal money housed in Africa earned through kidnapping, terrorism, the drug trade and corruption.
These websites, which have content related to Africa, say that the decision to render these US dollars invalid were taken at an extraordinary meeting on November 2, whose participants were the Federal Reserve (the central bank of the United States), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Comptroller of the Currency (of the US Treasury) and Governors of African central banks.
Publicly available data show that this meeting never took place. On November 2, the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve announced its monetary policy decisions, and the minutes of this meeting released on November 23 show that this issue of demonetising the dollar was not discussed. Neither did representatives the Federal Reserve meet the IMF or the World Bank, according to the publicly available schedule of the Federal Reserve. Further, the Federal Reserve publicly maintains that older US dollar banknotes would continue to remain legal tender regardless of when it was issued.
This is also found itself on WhatsApp, which BOOM recieved on its tipline (7700906588).
Several users of social media are also sharing this.
1. Did an extraordinary meeting take place on November 2?
No publicly available evidence shows that an extraordinary meeting at an international level between such high-profile participants as mentioned in these stories has taken place.
Rather, on November 2, the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee, Chaired by Jerome Powell, announced that it was hiking interest rates (called the federal funds rate) by 75 basis points. This was the sixth rate hike of 2022, aimed at curbing inflation and loose money policy, as is being done by central banks around the world.
While Powell made this announcement on November 2, the minutes of the meeting itself where the decision was taken was released on November 23. According to this, while recent economic developments in the United Kingdom were discussed, there was no mention of meeting any governor of any African central bank, or the IMF or the World Bank
Further, the publicly available schedule of the Federal Reserve governors and chairs also show that no such meeting has taken place.
2. Have any of these insitutition met at any points this year?
Yes, earlier in October, when the annual meeting of the Boards of IMF and the World Bank took place. The governors of several central banks and the finance ministers of several countries were also in attendance.
This year, it took place in Washington DC from October 10 to 16.
An African specific meeting also took place and was attended by the finance and agricultural ministers of five African countries and representatives of civil society, as can be found here. But the video recording and associated transcripts convey that the US dollar demonetisation as claimed was not discussed here.
3. Is there anything to show that the US dollar banknotes will be demonetised?
No. The Federal Reserve maintains that all notes, regardless of when they were printed, remain legal tender, even after the introduction of new iterations of banknotes.
As the Federal Reserve answers the question, "Do I have to trade in my old-design notes when a new one begins circulating?" with, "No, you do not have to trade in your old-design notes for new ones. All U.S. currency remains legal tender, regardless of when it was issued."
This can be seen here.
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