What is the Currency of Burundi?

By Joyce Chepkemoi on August 1 2017 in Economics

Burundian francs.
Burundian francs.

The official currency of Burundi is the Burundian franc. The franc is nominally subdivided into 100 centimes. However, since Burundi started issuing its currency, the coins have never been issued in centimes. As a matter of fact, centime coins were only issued when the country was using Belgian Congo franc. The symbol for the Burundian franc is FBu. Following discussions with leaders of the East African community, there were speculations that the East African Shilling would replace the Burundian franc by 2015.


In 1916 the franc became the official legal tender in Burundi following the occupation of Belgium in the former colony of Germany. The Belgian Congo franc replaced the German East African rupie as the legal tender in the country and was used until the introduction of the Rwanda and Burundi franc in 1960. The state began issuing the Burundian franc in 1964. There were plans to introduce a single currency in all the member countries of the East African Community.

Burundian Coins

The Bank of the Kingdom of Burundi rolled out 1 franc coins made of brass in 1965. However, in 1968 the brass coins were replaced by aluminum ones when the Bank of the Republic of Burundi, the central bank in the country, began issuing coins. The new coins comprised of cupro-nickel 10 francs together, with 1 and 5 aluminum franc coins. Both the 5 and 10 franc coins feature continuous milled edges. In 1976, a new set of 1 and 5 franc coins were once again introduced in the country and featured the coat of arms. Another set of new coins were introduced in Burundi, but this time they were 10 and 50 francs which were issued in 2011.


Between February 1964 and December 31, 1965, notes in denominations of 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 were rolled out by the Issuing Bank of Rwanda and Burundi. The notes were printed with additional features including a diagonal hollow of the word 'BURUNDI' for use in the country. Between 1964 and 1965 there were irregular issues by the Bank of the Kingdom of Burundi (Banque du Royaume du Burundi) of the same denominations. The Bank of the Republic of Burundi started issuing notes for 20 francs and above in 1966, they were overprinted replacing the word 'Kingdom' with 'Republic.' The bank began issuing banknotes in denominations of 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, and 10 francs. However, 10 francs were phased out by 1968, but they were soon replaced by franc coins. In 2001, the country was introduced to 2,000 franc banknotes, and in 2004, 10,000 franc notes were issued. An image of Burundian school kids taken by Kelly Fajack was used on the back of the 10,000 franc banknote.

The Economy of Burundi

Over time, the Burundian franc has continued to weaken against the dollar. At present, 1 Burundian franc is equivalent to 0.00058 US dollars. Economic growth in Burundi suffers primarily from the political crisis which has plunged the nation into an economically weak spot, drought, and international sanctions. The EU suspended direct financial support to Bujumbura making the country suffer from a lack foreign exchange which in turn has resulted in an increase in the cost of imports. The country's current situation is still set to project through 2017 as inflation is also on the rise.

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