The State of Katanga, which is also sometimes called the Republic of Katanga, was a breakaway region, surrounded by Zambia to the south, Angola to the west, and Lake Tanganyika to the east. Under Moise Tshombe’s leadership, Katanga declared its independence from the newly independent Democratic Republic of the Congo on July 11, 1960, but was dissolved in 1963 following the United Nations Operation in the Congo forces occupation.
The state’s mines produce most of the nation’s copper, uranium, silver, iron, gold, tin, manganese, germanium, coal, and cadmium. Since 1900, Katanga’s economic progress has brought multiple mining and industrial towns and developed transportation and communication systems, making it the most highly industrialized state in Congo outside the capital of Kinshasa. Aside from the industry, Katanga also benefits from the agricultural sector which yields cotton, corn, tobacco, and vegetable as well as poultry and livestock.
During the region’s short-lived independence, Katanga’s official currency was the Katangese franc. It was introduced to replace the Congolese franc, which was replaced back with the Congolese franc when the state was reintegrated into the republic.
In 1961, the Government of Katanga issued provisional banknotes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 francs. These were Ruanda-Urundi franc banknotes overprinted with a horizontal red GOUVERNEMENT KATANGA on both of their obverse and reverse designs.
Regular banknotes were released on January 9, 1961, in 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 francs. This family of notes features Moishe Tshombe on the obverse and was produced Roto-Sadag SA of Geneva in Switzerland but finished by a subcontractor in Soleure.
The lack of security features on the 1961 issues has prompted for issuance of another set of notes on November 28, 1961. The obverse of the notes from this series reflects Katangese people and their way of life while the reverse features masks and spears forming a rosette with a shield at the center. These notes bear a solid security thread and an elephant watermark.