What is the BIF - Burundi Franc

BIF - Burundi Franc, refers to the currency of the African nation of Burundi.

In theory, the Burundi franc is composed of 100 centimes, but coins haven't been issued in these denominations since Burundi introduced its own currency in 1964.

As of mid-2018, it took more than $1700 Burundi Franc - BIF to equal a U.S. dollar, largely due to an inflation surge in 2012, as well as political and economic turmoil in 2015 and 2016, partly due to the attempted coup of President Pierre Nkurunziza.  

In comparison,  it took about 925 Burundi franc to equal a dollar in early 2006, and 1,200 to equal a U.S. dollar by early 2009.


The Burundi Franc - BIF replaced the Rwanda and Burundi Francs, issued from 1960 to 1963. Previously, the nation used Belgian Congo Francs, from 1916 to 1959, and before that, German East African rupees.

The Burundi Franc - BIF comes in denominations of as much as 10,000. Because of inflation, the bank notes with 10, 20 and 50 franc denominations no longer are legal tender as of 2015. The 100-franc note now is a coin.

The six countries making up the East African Community, including Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, discussed creating a unified currency called the East African Shilling in recent years. However, this  hasn’t happened as of mid-2018.

The Burundi Franc does not trade very much on global exchange markets. Therefore, it draws very little interest among the world’s global currency traders. The inflation rate also makes it difficult to trade.

Influences on the BIF - Burundi Franc

Burundi is among the world’s poorest countries, both in terms of total GDP and GDP per capita. It lacks natural resources, a developed manufacturing sector. Hunger and malnourishment are major problems, as the country is densely populated with high population growth.

The vast majority of the country works producing agricultural products. Therefore, the economy depends partly on good weather and the global prices for exports such as coffee.

However, Burundi still does not produce enough food on its many small farms to feed its own. For this reason, Burundi depends heavily on international humanitarian aid, which also affects its currency. The BIF tends to falter when food is scarce, and the rise of a black market in U.S. dollars degrades the value of local currency. This tends to crop up despite government crackdowns.

Burundi’s economy and relative currency value also is hampered because the country lacks a port of its own; Burundi is landlocked. This raises the cost of transportation and tends to hold back growth of manufacturing.