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Burundi Issues New Banknote Series

Back of the new Burundian 500-BIF note
New 500-BIF note (reverse)

By CoinWeek News Staff ….
The Bank of the Republic of Burundi (BRB), having the exclusive right to issue bank notes and coins legal tender in Burundi, launched a new range of bills on April 29, 2015 in denominations of 500, 2000, 5,000 and 10,000 Burundian francs (BIF).

Made with modern international security standards and in a unique style and architecture, these bank notes feature improved durability and security, incorporating various new security devices. Some of them are immediately recognizable to the naked eye or to the touch for the blind. Others require a magnifying glass, or are revealed by light. Others still are reserved for use by the BRB.

Each note is characterized by different themes and a specific color:

  • 500-BIF: light orange
  • 2000-BIF: clear pink
  • 5000-BIF: light blue
  • 10,000-BIF: light yellow

Besides the traditional symbols and elements (the Crest of Burundi, signatures of BRB Governors, the serial number, etc.), the following additional security features can be found on the new notes:

  • A windowed metallic security thread embedded in the paper, with the heads of heifers and the letters “BRB”
  • Progressive effect color that changes when the note is tilted (located to the right end of the front of the note)
  • Raised areas on both sides of the note to assist the visually-impaired
  • A watermark visible when held up to the light that represents one of two national heroes (Prince Louis Rwagasore and President Melchior Ndadaye)
  • A transparent fish image, visible on both sides of the bill

Beyond these security features, each bill’s front is dominated by the national flag and a particular animal, and each back has the BRB logo and an image symbolizing the economic activity of Burundians.

This new range of bank notes allows the public to better protect itself from counterfeiting, thanks to the modern security features used. With smaller dimensions than older bills, and varnish covering both sides, these notes will be more durable and more convenient than previous issues.

For a period of three months–during a so-called “dual circulation”–it will be possible to pay for purchases with either the old notes or the new. In this period, the public can exchange the old notes for new bills in any bank or financial institution in the country. After dual circulation is over, older notes will lose their legal tender status and cannot be exchanged for an as yet undetermined amount of time.

Moreover, 10-, 20- and 50-OFI notes also lose legal tender status from the same date, following the same exchange process, and will not be printed again.

In short, within 3 months:

1-, 5-, 10- and 50-BIF notes will remain unchanged.

100-OFI bills will remain outstanding until replaced by a 100-BIF note.

The 1000-BIF note will remain outstanding until replaced by a new bill that has yet to be issued.

500-, 2,000-, 5,000- and 10,000-BIF notes are legal tender as of Tuesday, April 29, 2015.

At the launch press conference, Governor of the BRB Jean CIZA invited the public to “take care of these notes and keep them out without bending them more than twice, or getting them wet,” because their manufacture is costly to the Bank.

He explained to the press that “the more tickets wear quickly, the Bank is forced to import from abroad. This causes a huge budget that could be allocated to other investment projects that would benefit Burundi.”

Similarly, M. Jean CIZA invited the public to use banks and microfinance institutions to prevent hoarding. He recalled that money put into an account can earn interest, while that which is hoarded is exposed to several disasters such as fire, damage, theft, etc.

“This also facilitates access to various bank and financial services, including credit, which may contribute to self-development projects,” he concluded.

As of the time of publication, one Burundian franc (BIF) traded for approximately $0.0006 USD.

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http://www.brb.bi/fr/content/une-nouvelle-gamme-de-billets-de-banque (French language website)

Coinweek is the top independent online media source for rare coin and currency news, with analysis and information contributed by leading experts across the numismatic spectrum.

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