Money & Shopping
There are some supermarkets in Gombe commune of Kinshasa that sell food and drinks, soap, kitchen devices and bazar: City Market, Peloustore, Kin Mart, Hasson's.
SIM cards and prepaid recharge for mobile phones are available in the street and at Ndjili airport, at a reasonable price.
The local currency is the Congolese franc, sometimes abbreviated FC and sometimes just with a capital F placed after the amount, for which the ISO 4217 international currency code is CDF. The currency is freely convertible (but impossible to get rid of outside the country) and, as of November 2015, trades at approximately:
- USD1 = CDF922.76
- EUR1 = CDF981.60
- GBP1 = CDF1,401.26
- CHF1 =CDF904.82
- CAD1 = CDF692.21
- JPY1 = CDF7.51
- CNY1 = CDF144.10
- ZAR1 = CDF66.11
Banknotes are issued in denominations of CDF50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 5000, 10,000 and 20,000. The only Congolese bank notes currently in circulation in most places are the 50, 100, 200 and 500 franc notes. They are almost worthless, as the highest valued banknote (the 500 franc note) is worth only about USD0.55
US dollars in denominations above USD2 are much preferred to francs. In contrast, US coins and one and two US dollar bills are considered worthless. If you pay in dollars, you will get change in francs. Though francs may sometimes come in bills so old they feel like fabric, US dollar bills must be crisp (less than 3 folds) and be printed in or after 2003, or they will not be accepted.
In some shops, the symbol FF is used to mean 1000 francs, and 1 US dollar is considered equivalent to 1000 francs.
MasterCard/Maestro ATMs are available now in Kinshasa at the "Rawbank" on boulevard du 30 Juin (Gombe District), and in Grand Hotel. It spits out US dollars. Visa card is also usable with "Procredit" bank ATMs in Kinshasa, avenue des Aviateurs, or outside in front of Grand Hotel (only USD20 and USD100 bills).