The franc (ISO 4217 code is BIF) is the currency of Burundi. It is nominally subdivided into 100 centimes, although coins have never been issued in centimes since Burundi began issuing its own currency. Only during the period when Burundi used the Belgian Congo franc were centime coins issued.
The franc became the currency of Burundi in 1916, when Belgium occupied the former German colony and replaced the German East African rupie with the Belgian Congo franc. Burundi used the currency of Belgian Congo until 1960, when the Rwanda and Burundi franc was introduced. Burundi began issuing its own francs in 1964.
There are plans to introduce a common currency, a new East African shilling, for the five member states of the East African Community by the end of 2015.
In 1965, the Bank of the Kingdom of Burundi issued brass 1 franc coins. In 1968, Bank of the Republic of Burundi took over the issuance of coins and introduced aluminum 1 and 5 francs and cupro-nickel 10 francs. The 5 and 10 francs have continuous milled edges. Second types of the 1 and 5 franc coins were introduced in 1976, featuring the coat of arms.
In 1964, notes of the Bank of Emission of Rwanda and Burundi, in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 francs, were overprinted with the word "Burundi" for use in the country. These were followed in 1964 and 1965 by regular issues in the same denominations by the Bank of the Kingdom of Burundi.
In 1966, notes for 20 francs and above were overprinted by the Bank of the Republic of Burundi, replacing the word "Kingdom" with "Republic". Regular issues of this bank began in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 francs. 10 francs were replaced by coins in 1968. 2000 franc notes were introduced in 2001, followed by 10,000 francs in 2004. Photographer Kelly Fajack's image of school kids in Burundi was used on the back of the Burundian 10,000 franc note.
Historical exchange rates
On 3 January 2006, the franc was valued at 925 per US$1. On January 1, 2008, the franc was valued at 1,129.40 per US dollar. On January 1, 2009, the franc was valued at 1,234.33 per US dollar.
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