After the First World War, Belgium occupied Ruanda and Urundi, two separate kingdoms which were under German East Africa. The colonial territory was under Belgian military occupation from 1916 to 1922 and later became a Belgian-controlled Class B Mandate under the League of Nations from 1922 to 19450 After the Second World War, Ruanda-Urundi became a Trust Territory of the United Nations under Belgian control. In 1962, the territory gained independence from the Belgians and became the Republic of Rwanda and the Kingdom of Burundi. Two years later in 1964, Rwanda and Burundi separated into two independent countries, Rwanda and Burundi, and introduced their own currencies, the Rwandan franc and the Burundian franc.  

The Banque d’Emission du Rwanda et du Burundi (Issuing Bank of Rwanda and Burundi) was established in 1960 and began issuing notes for the Belgian mandate territory of Ruanda-Urundi. The Rwanda and Burundi franc replaced the Belgian Congo franc, which was in circulation in the territory since 1916, in 1960.  

The Issuing Bank introduced a series of banknotes that circulated from 1960 to 1963. The denominations included in the series were 5 francs, 10 francs, 20 francs, 50 francs, 100 francs, and 1,000 francs. These notes featured endemic animals, did not have security threads nor watermarks, and were printed by either the Issuing Bank, Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company, or Thomas De La Rue & Company.