The Burundi franc (BIF) became Burundi's currency when the former German colony was occupied by Belgium in 1916, and in turn, had the Belgian Congo franc replace the German East African rupee. Until the 1960s, Burundi used the Belgian Congo franc and changed when the Rwanda and Burundi franc was introduced. The country started to issue the Burundi francs in 1964. There were plans of introducing a new East African shilling as a common currency for the five member states of the East African Community by the end of 2015. Although, as of November 2017, these plans have not yet taken shape.
From February 1964 to December 31, 1965, notes of the issuing Bank of Burundi and Rwanda were overprinted with a diagonal hollow "BURUNDI" for use in the country. Regular issues in the same denominations by the Bank of the Kingdom of Burundi then followed in 1964 and 1965. Notes for 20 francs and above were overprinted in 1966 by the Bank of the Republic of Burundi. The word "Kingdom" was replaced with "Republic". The image of school kids in Burundi captured by photographer Kelly Fajack was used on the back of the 10,000 franc note. In 2015 Burundi launched a new series of banknotes resulting in the 10, 20, and 50 franc banknotes losing their legal tender status, and only the 100 franc banknote remained from the old series that was in circulation.
The primary sector of the country's economy is agriculture, which accounts for 57% of their GDP, and 70% of the labor force operates in agriculture. The inflation rate is +/- 10%, and GDP growth is 4.5%. Burundi's main agricultural products are cotton, tea, beef, bananas, coffee, corn, sweet potatoes, and hides. However, Burundi's resources are scarce, and its manufacturing sector is underdeveloped. As a result, the country relies on humanitarian assistance. But, during the late 90s, humanitarian aid halted due to the coup in 1996. The embargo was lifted in 1999, and countries started providing aid again.
Burundi's top industries are construction, soap, blankets, and shoes. In addition, the country exports products such as coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, and hides, while it imports products that include capital goods, petroleum products, and foodstuffs. Around 53% of Burundi's people are living below the poverty level. And in 1997, Burundi has an external debut with an estimated amount of $1.27 billion.