The official currency of the Democratic Republic of Congo is the Central African CFA franc. The franc is divided into 100 smaller portions called centimes. There have been two different francs in the country, the first franc which was present from 1887-1967, and the second franc which is currently used and began circulation in 1997.
First Franc (1887-1967)
The currency denominated in franc and centimes was circulated in Congo for use during a time when the country remained under the administration of Belgium. Both the Congolese and Belgian franc had equal value at the time. At the beginning of 1916, the authorities issued the currency in other countries including Rwanda and Burundi. The usage of the currency in the two nations ended in 1960 when they began to use their own franc.
The coins were brought into use in 1887 in different denominations with copper coins of 1, 2, 5, and 10 centimes while silver-made coins had a value of 50 centimes. However, the production of coins made of silver stopped in 1896, paving the way for the introduction of holed cupro-nickel of 5, 10, and 20 centime in 1906 to join the still use copper coins which its production ceased in 1919. 1 franc coins were issued in 1920 while the 50 centime cupro-nickel was introduced in 1921.
The minted coins of Belgian Congo stopped in 1929 and were later re-introduced in 1936 allowing the circulation of bronze-nickel 5-franc coins in 1937. The aluminum coins with a value of 50 centimes, franc of 1, and franc of 5 came next before the high-value aluminum coins arrived with a value of 10 francs.
As early as 1885, Congo introduced 10 and 100 franc notes and in 1912 the Belgian Congo Bank issued 20 and 100 francs. In 1914, 1,5, and 100 notes of franc came into use. Only the printing of 1 franc notes stopped, and the introduction of 10 francs took place in the year 1937. In 1942,10,000 francs were issued while the 500 francs entered the market in the 1940s. During 1962, Monetary Council belonging to the Republic of Congo produced the 1000 notes owned by the Belgian Congo Central Bank and Urundi-Ruanda, overproducing them with the council’s name.
The Urundi-Ruanda and the Belgian Congo Central Bank issued notes with the smallest denomination of 5 and the highest denomination of 100 francs in 1942. In 1943, 1000 francs came into circulation. The last notes belonging to the first category were introduced in 1962 by Monetary Council of Republic Congo.
Second Franc (1997 - Present)
As a replacement of the new Zaire, the re-introduction of the franc took place in 1997.
Although coins were circulated, the administration forced them out of the market due to inflation. Currently, the smallest note in use is the 10 francs.
The centimes and francs which dated back to November 1997 were reprinted in 1998, while the 200 and 500 francs found their way to the market for use in the year 2002. During the celebration of the Congo independence in the year 2010, Banque Central du Congo gave out 20 million notes of 500 francs. The denominations of 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 20,000 francs mark the latest issued notes in Congo.