Zairean zaire

The Zaire (French: Zaïre), was the unit of currency of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and then of the Republic of Zaire from 1967 until 1997. There were two distinct currencies. All but six of the 79 series of banknotes issued bear the image of Mobutu Sese Seko.[1]

(in French) zaïre
ISO 4217
CoinsNone for new zaire
User(s) Zaire
Central bankBank of Zaire
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

Zaire (1967–1993)

The Zaire (French: Zaïre), symbol: "Z", or sometimes "Ƶ", was introduced in 1967, replacing the Congolese franc at an exchange rate of 1 zaire = 1000 francs. The zaire was subdivided into 100 makuta (singular: likuta, symbol: "K"), each of 100 sengi (symbol: "s"). However, the sengi was worth very little and the only sengi denominated coin was the 10 sengi coin issued in 1967. Unusually for any currency, it was common practice to write cash amounts with three zeros after the decimal place, even after inflation had greatly devalued the currency. Inflation eventually caused denominations of banknotes up to 5,000,000 zaires to be issued, after which the new zaire was introduced.

Exchange rates in zaires per U.S. dollar[3]

  • 1967: 2 zaires
  • 1985: 50 zaires
  • 1986: 60 zaires
  • 1987: 112 zaires
  • 1988: 187 zaires
  • 1989: 381 zaires
  • 1990: 719 zaires
  • 1991: 15,300 zaires
  • Early 1992: 114,291 zaires
  • December 1992: 1,990,000 zaires
  • March 1993: 2,529,000 zaires
  • October 1993: 8,000,000 zaires
  • December 1993: 110,000,000 zaires


In 1967, coins were introduced by the National Bank of Congo in denominations of 10 sengi, 1 likuta and 5 makuta, with the lower two denominations in aluminium and the highest in cupro-nickel. In 1973, the first coins issued by the Bank of Zaire were issued, cupro-nickel 5, 10 and 20 makuta. In 1987, a new coinage was introduced, consisting of brass 1, 5 and with a 10 zaires in 1988.

20 Makuta, 1976


In 1967, the National Bank of Congo introduced notes for 10, 20 and 50 makuta, 1 and 5 zaires (also shown as 100 and 500 makuta). In 1971, 10 zaire notes were introduced. In 1972, the Bank of Zaire started issuing notes for 1, 5 and 10 zaires, followed by 50 makuta notes in 1973. 50 zaïre notes were introduced in 1980, followed by 100 zaires in 1983, 500 zaires in 1984, 1000 zaires in 1985, 5000 zaires in 1988, 10,000 zaires in 1989, 2000, 20,000 and 50,000 zaires in 1991 and, finally, 100,000, 200,000, 500,000, 1,000,000 and 5,000,000 in 1992.

The 5,000,000 zaire note, which entered circulation in late 1992, was not accepted as legal tender for several weeks in some parts of the country (notably in the north-east), and in other parts of the country it was accepted for only part of its value. One reason for this mistrust was a grammatical error in the French number on the note, which read "cinq millions zaïres" instead of "cinq millions de zaïres".

New Zaire (1993–1998)

The New Zaire (French: Nouveau Zaïre), symbol "NZ", ISO 4217 code ZRN, replaced the first zaire in 1993 at an exchange rate of 1 new zaire = 3,000,000 old zaires. It was subdivided into 100 new makuta (symbol: "NK"). This currency was only issued in banknote form and suffered from extremely high inflation to its predecessor.

The new zaire was replaced by the Congolese franc again on 1 July 1998,[4] at an exchange rate of 1 franc = 100,000 new zaires shortly after the Republic of Zaire became the Democratic Republic of the Congo once more, on 16 May 1997.


In 1993, notes were issued by the Bank of Zaire in denominations of 1, 5, 10 and 50 new makuta, 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 new zaires. These were followed, in 1994, by notes for 200 and 500 new zaires. In 1995, 1000, 5000 and 10,000 new zaire notes were introduced, whilst in 1996, notes for 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 500,000 and 1,000,000 new zaires were added. All of the new zaire notes feature a portrait of Mobutu Sésé Seko in uniform with cap.[5]

10 New Zaire note (back)

10 New Zaires (1993) - back

10 New Zaire note (front)

10 New Zaires (1993) - front


  1. ^ David van Reybrouck. Congo: The Epic History of a People. HarperCollins, 2012. p. 381. ISBN 978-0-06-220011-2.
  2. ^ Sizaire, Violaine (2002). Femmes, modes, musiques : mémoires de Lubumbashi. Paris: L'Harmattan. p. 172. ISBN 2-7475-2947-9.
  3. ^
  4. ^ International Monetary Fund, International Financial Statistics, November 2007: World & Country Notes
  5. ^ Linzmayer, Owen (2012). "Zaire". The Banknote Book. San Francisco, CA:


External links

Zairean zaire
Preceded by:
Congolese franc
Reason: renaming and inflation
Ratio: 1 zaire = 1000 francs
Currency of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
1967 – 27 October 1971
Currency of Zaire
27 October 1971 – October 1993
Succeeded by:
New zaire
Reason: inflation
Ratio: 1 new zaire = 3,000,000 old zaires
Zairean new zaire
Preceded by:
Reason: inflation
Ratio: 1 new zaire = 3,000,000 old zaires
Currency of Zaire
October 1993 – 16 May 1997
Currency of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
16 May 1997 – 1 July 1998
Succeeded by:
Congolese franc
Reason: renaming and inflation
Ratio: 1 franc = 100,000 new zaires
Banyingela Kasonga

Banyingela Kasonga (born May 4, 1959), is a priest and was a candidate for the presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in July 2006.

ISO 4217

ISO 4217 is a standard first published by International Organization for Standardization in 1978, which delineates currency designators, country codes (alpha and numeric), and references to minor units in three tables:

Table A.1 – Current currency & funds code list

Table A.2 – Current funds codes

Table A.3 – List of codes for historic denominations of currencies & fundsThe tables, history and ongoing discussion are maintained by SIX Interbank Clearing on behalf of ISO and the Swiss Association for Standardization.The ISO 4217 code list is used in banking and business globally. In many countries the ISO codes for the more common currencies are so well known publicly that exchange rates published in newspapers or posted in banks use only these to delineate the currencies, instead of translated currency names or ambiguous currency symbols. ISO 4217 codes are used on airline tickets and international train tickets to remove any ambiguity about the price.

List of people on banknotes

This is a list of people on the banknotes of different countries. The customary design of banknotes in most countries is a portrait of a notable citizen (living and/or deceased) on the front (or obverse) or on the back (or reverse) of the banknotes, unless the subject is featured on both sides.


Makuta may refer to:

Makuṭa, royal headgear in Southeast Asia

Makuta (drum), tall cylindrical or barrel-shaped Afro-Cuban drums

Makuta VFX, Indian visual effects and animation company in California

Makuta, Botswana, a village

Makuta, Malawi, a village

Makuta Station, a train station in Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Manuha (a.k.a. Makuta), the last king of the Thaton Kingdom

Makuta, a denomination of the Zairean zaire

Makuta, a central villain from the Lego Bionicle Franchise

Zaire (disambiguation)

Zaire was the name between 1971 and 1997 of what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Zaire may also refer to:


Congo River, once often called "Zaire River"

Zaire Province of AngolaPeople

Malik Zaire (born 1995) American football quarterback for the Florida Gators

Zaire Anderson (born 1992) an American football linebacker for the Denver Broncos

Zaire Bartley (born 1998) is a Jamaican association football midfielder for New York Red Bulls II

Zaire Franklin, American football player

Tim "Zaire" Lewis (born 1980) of Keelay and Zaire, hip hop producersOther

Zaire Use, a variation of the common mass of the Roman Catholic Church

Zairean zaire, 1967–97 currency of Congo/Zaire

Zaïre (play), a 1732 play by Voltaire

Zaïre. Revue Congolaise—Congoleesch Tijdschrift, Belgian African studies journal

"In Zaire", a 1976 song by Johnny Wakelin

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