The Republic of Guinea (Republique de Guinee), sometimes known as Guinea-Conakry, is a Western African country located on the Atlantic coast. It is bordered by Guinea-Bissau to the northwest, Senegal to the north, Mali to the northeast, Cote d’Ivoire to the southeast, Liberia to the south, and Sierra Leone to the southwest. Three of western Africa’s major rivers—the Niger, the Senegal, and the Gambia— run through Guinea. Guinea was formerly known as French Guinea, and still retains many French influences. Its official language is French and the monetary unit used is the Guinean franc. Though Guinea is the second largest producer of bauxite, its economy is still largely based on subsistence agriculture.
When Guinea was still under French rule, the Gouvernement General de l’A.O.F- Colonie de la Guinee Francaise (the General Government of French West Africa- Colony of French Guinea) was in charge of issuing banknotes in French Guinea. One Guinean franc is equivalent to 100 centimes. During the First World War, special banknotes and postage stamps were issued to address the shortage of coins. Fifty centimes and one franc banknotes depicted their corresponding French coin equivalent, while 5, 10, and 25 centime stamps had different colors to distinguish one denomination from another. In February 1960, the Banque de la Republique de Guinee (Bank of the Republic of Guinea) was founded. The first family of Guinean franc banknotes issued by the bank were designed and printed by Statni Tiskarna Cenin and lacked security features. These banknotes featured former President Ahmed Sekou Toure on the obverse side and different cultural and agricultural vignettes on the reverse side. When the Banque Centrale de la Republique de Guinee (Central Bank of the Republic of Guinea) replaced the Banque de la Republique de Guinee (Bank of the Republic of Guinea) in July 1961, the Central Bank issued more secure and colorful franc banknotes that continued to feature Ahmed Sekou Toure on the front and Guinean vignettes at the back. In 1971, the Guinean franc was replaced by the Guinean syli. The first family of syli banknotes bore the law date of March 1, 1960 and the year it was issued. The portrait of President Ahmed Sekou Toure was replaced with other anti-colonial African heroes. In 1985, the Guinean franc was reintroduced as the official Guinean currency. The first reintroduced Guinean franc banknote family designs highlighted Guinea’s cultural heritage on the obverse side and economic activities on the reverse side. In 2007, the 10,000 franc note was introduced due to hyperinflation. In 2010, a commemorative family of banknotes was issued to honor the 50th anniversary of the Guinean currency. These notes had the 50th anniversary logo printed over the watermark area and enhanced security features including additional intaglio printing and a varnish for additional durability. On May 2015, the Central Bank introduced a new 20,000 franc banknote to ease large transactions. In 2019, they added the 2,000 and 10,000 franc banknotes and revised the 500 franc banknotes. The introduction of these new denominations addressed the hyperinflation in the country and also commemorated the 59th anniversary of Guinean currency.