Rwanda's Recent Coins

There were no Rwandan circulation coins at all made with a date from the 1990s. But in the last few years a whole new series has been issued; starting with five types issued in 2004. The then soon to be issued coins of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Francs were announced and declared legal tender by the document…

“PRESIDENTIAL ORDER N° 06/01”, entitled, “ISSUING NEW COINS OF 1, 5,10, 20 AND 50 FRW AS LEGAL TENDER IN RWANDA” of 30/April/2004.

This can be seen at…

Within the Presidential Order is it stated that any older coins series would only be legal tender until 31/December/2004. The new coins must have been issued later in 2004. Early appearances of the set of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Francs coins on Ebay were in January 2005. So it seemed a little odd that these new coins were all dated “2003”. Per the series of events prior to the issue of the later 100 Franc coin, it is rather likely that the “2003” date appears on these coins because of that year being either (a) the year in which an order was placed with the minter, (b) that in which the Rwandan authorities had put out the tender for the minting of the coins or (c) perhaps the date indicated for the coins in the tender documents. I soon had some of the new Rwandan coins on order. However I did not manage to get the 1 Franc straight away – it seems that they were not quite so plentiful, at least not to collectors around the world.

Each of the five types features a different plant on the obverse and arched over this central feature is the legend “BANKI NASIYONALI Y'U RWANDA” which is the Kinyarwanda name for the National Bank of Rwanda. Kinyarwanda is one of Rwanda’s three official languages; the others are English and French. To the reverse of all five types is the Rwandan coat of arms and around this central feature there is the denomination written in Kinyarwanda. The official website of the government of the Republic of Rwanda includes a nice clear image of the coat of arms on the page…

Here are the “2003” dated coins…

Rwanda 1 Franc 2003
Rwanda 1 Franc 2003

The 1 Franc, the obverse features a ripened rice plant, (plante de riz en maturité), the reverse includes the legend “IFARANGA RIMWE”. Further details: - mass 0.7 grams, Aluminium, diameter 16mm, edge plain.

Rwanda 5 Francs 2003
Rwanda 5 Francs 2003

The 5 Francs, the obverse features leaves and cherries on a coffee tree, (un caféier avec cerises), the reverse includes the legend “AMAFARANGA ATANU”. Further details: - mass 3.0 grams, Brass-plated-Steel, diameter 20mm, edge plain.

Rwanda 10 Francs 2003
Rwanda 10 Francs 2003

The 10 Francs, the obverse features a bunch of bananas in tree, (un bananier avec son regime), the reverse includes the legend “AMAFARANGA ICUMI”. Further details: - mass 5.0 grams, Brass-plated-Steel, diameter 24mm, edge plain.

Rwanda 20 Francs 2003
Rwanda 20 Francs 2003

The 20 Francs, the obverse features a tea plant, (un théier), the reverse includes the legend “AMAFARANGA MAKUMYABIRI”. Further details: - mass 3.5 grams, Nickel-plated-Steel, diameter 20mm, edge reeded.

Rwanda 50 Francs 2003
Rwanda 50 Francs 2003

The 50 Francs, the obverse features a half-covered maize cob, (epi de maïs à demi-découvert), the reverse includes the legend “AMAFARANGA MIRONGO ITANU”.  To each side of the date are the cornucopia and French-horn privy marks of the Monnaie de Paris. These marks do not appear on any of the other coins. This type is also different to the others dated “2003” in that the size and style of date and other legends is different; there even seem to be differences with the coat of arms and the colour as compared to that of the 20 Francs type. Further details: - mass 5.7 grams, Nickel-plated-Steel, diameter 24mm, edge reeded.

The French descriptions given above in parenthesis are for the main obverse feature on each type and were included in what I once saw on the bank’s website. This can now be seen at…

I first saw a report about Rwanda’s next new coin in September 2007. It was a report dated 13/March/2007 that was on the website In French, that particular report stated that Rwanda would be getting a 100 Franc coin to replace the 100 Franc note.

Another news report included two references to the legal authorisation for this new coins type, these were:-




Included in the two documents above are details of the new coin’s legends and dimensions. These documents are in each of Rwanda’s three official languages. The denomination name “Rwandan Franc” appears in three different abbreviated forms: - “100 Rwf” (English), “100 FRW” (French) and “100 Frw” (Kinyarwanda). The coins would not have been released before the above mentioned Presidential Order which is dated 28/August /2008, although the coins are actually dated 2007.

The annual report of the British Royal Mint for 2007/2008 (the year ending 31/March/2008), as published mid-2008, includes an erroneous statement…

“Of particular note was the award of a contract by Rwanda for their new 100 fils coin.”

Most likely this is reference to the Rwandan 100 Francs 2007; it would be at least highly unlikely for the report to mention Rwanda if there hadn’t been any order at all from Rwanda in this period.

Rwanda 100 Francs 2007
Rwanda 100 Francs 2007

Here is my 100 Francs 2007, I acquired it in December 2008. Centrally to the obverse and over two lines is the denomination written as “100 FRW”, arched above this is “BANKI NKURU Y'U RWANDA” (apparently another Kinyarwanda name for National Bank of Rwanda) and below there is the date “2007”. For some reason the name of the bank has been written in Kinyarwanda in a different way than seen on the “2003” dated coins. Centrally to the reverse of this coin is the Rwandan coat of arms, arched above this is “AMAFARANGA IJANA” which is the denomination written in Kinyarwanda and below there is the denomination numeral “100”. Further details: - mass 7.5 grams, the ring part of this bi-metallic type is made from Nickel-plated-Steel and the core from Copper-plated-Steel, diameter 26mm, edge plain.

In November 2009 I came across information released by Rwanda’s “Minister in charge of Cabinet Affairs”. It is entitled “STATEMENT ON CABINET RESOLUTIONS OF 28 OCTOBER 2009”. It is a pdf download available from the website at… by following Publications > Cabinet Decisions > 2009 Cabinet Decisions.

Within this document, the first point in paragraph 3 reads as follows...
A Presidential Order determining a new coin of Ten Francs (RwF 10) with the following words “Banki Nkuru y’Igihugu” instead of “Banki Nasiyonali y’u Rwanda”. The ordinary coin shall remain in circulation.

The phrase “ordinary coin” no doubt refers to the “2003” dated coins of this denomination. Strange as it may seem, this will be the third Kinyarwanda name for National Bank of Rwanda to have appeared on recent Rwandan coins. I have not yet been able to determine why these changes have been made nor the exact meanings of each of the individual words. A more recent Presidential Order, that numbered 55/01 of 30/August/2010 (to be found within “Official Gazette N° Special of 02/09/2010”) gave the legal go ahead for coins of 5 Francs and 20 Francs both dated 2009, again with “Banki Nkuru y’Igihugu” instead of “Banki Nasiyonali y’u Rwanda”. These have been available for a while now. Finally, about a year ago, one other addition, Presidential Order number 03/01 of 3/May/2012 (to be found within “Official Gazette N° Special of 04/05/2012”) gave the legal go ahead for coins of 50 Francs dated 2011, also with the bank name as on the 2009 dated coins of 5, 10 and 20 Francs. These new coins are available, still having the privy marks of Monnaie de Paris, but the more recent such marks i.e. cornucopia and heart.

Finally, one important recent development for Rwanda is that on the 29-November-2009 the country became the 54th member of the Commonwealth of Nations. This was announced at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2009 in Trinidad and Tobago. Rwanda had made its application for membership in 2008. Of the 54 members only Rwanda and Mozambique are without historic ties to the UK. Of numismatic interest – membership of the Commonwealth of Nations makes a country a little more likely to use the services of the British Royal Mint – especially for countries that are not so geographically closer to the Royal Canadian Mint or the Royal Australian Mint. As detailed earlier, it seems for sure that the Rwanda 100 Franc coins were made by the British Royal Mint. It would seem quite possible that they also made all of the 5, 10 and 20 Franc coins mentioned above.

NOTE: All images on this page scaled at approximately 250dpi.

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Page added at May-2013.