Special Facts about West African CFA Franc
Eight independent states in West Africa¸ - Benin¸ Burkina Faso¸ Côte d'Ivoire¸ Guinea-Bissau¸ Mali¸ Niger¸ Sénégal and Togo use the West African CFA Franc as the currency. The acronym for CFA is Communauté financière d'Afrique (Financial Community of Africa). The bank responsible for issuing of the currency in these West African countries is BCEAO (Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest¸ Central Bank of the West African States) which is located in Dakar in Senegal. The currency is issued in favor of the UEMOA (Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine¸ West African Economic and Monetary Union).
1 West African CFA franc can be subdivided to 100 centimes.
The ISO 4217 code for West African CFA Franc is XOF. However¸ no centimes denominations are in circulation.
The Central African CFA Franc is equal in value to the West African CFA franc (as both are basically CFA Franc)¸ and this is the currency used in the Central African states.
The CFA franc was taken up as the currency system in the French colonies in West Africa in 1945 and it replaced the French West African franc. During that time¸ the colonies and territories that used the CFA franc were Côte d'Ivoire¸ Dahomey¸ French Sudan¸ Mauritania¸ Niger¸ Sénégal¸ Togo and Upper Volta. The colonies continued to use the currency until their independence. However¸ Mali¸ (formerly French Sudan) introduced its own franc to replace the CFA franc in 1961. 1973 saw Mauritania replacing the CFA franc with the ouguiya at a rate of 1 ouguiya = 5 francs. Mali again readopted the CFA franc in 1984. During that time¸ the exchange rate was 1 CFA franc = 2 Malian francs. The Guinea Bissau peso of the Portuguese colony of Guinea-Bissau was replaced by the CFA Franc in 1994 at a rate of 1 CFA franc = 65 pesos.
West African CFA Franc Coin Types
Aluminium 1 and 2 franc coins were issued in the year 1948. Aluminium-bronze 5¸ 10 and 25 francs followed in 1956 with the name Afrique Occidentale Française. From 1957 onwards¸ the 10 and 25 franc coins had the name of Togo added. From 1959¸ the responsibility of the issuing of coins was handed over to the BCEAO. 100-franc coins struck in nickel started being issued from 1967. Cupro-nickel 50-franc coins were introduced in 1972. In the year 1976¸ steel 1-franc coins were issued and they were in circulation until 1995. Bimetallic 250 francs were issued in 1992 until 1996 whereas bimetallic 200 and 500 franc coins were introduced in 2003.
West African CFA Franc Banknote Types
The banknotes used to be issued by the Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique Occidentale when the CFA franc was introduced for the first time. The banknotes were in the denominations of 5¸ 10¸ 25¸ 50¸ 100 and 1000 francs. The 500 francs banknote was also introduced in the year 1946 while 5¸000 francs followed in 1948.
Institut d'Emission de l'A.O.F. et du Togo took over the responsibility of production of paper money in 1955 and issued notes in the denominations of 50¸ 100¸ 500 and 1000 francs.
BCEAO took over Institut d'Emission de l'A.O.F. et du Togo and reintroduced the 5¸000 francs banknotes. With a few exceptions¸ the notes produced by the BCEAO exhibited a letter indicating the country in which the notes are issued.
The 50 franc banknotes were not issued any more after 1959; 100 francs were also last issued until 1965.
10¸000-franc notes and 2¸500-franc notes were introduced in 1977 and 1992 respectively.
In 2004¸ some new banknotes were introduced in the denominations of 1¸000¸ 2¸000¸ 5¸000 and 10¸000 francs. The colour of the 5¸000-franc note got changed from blue to green during this time. However¸ the 500-franc note got replaced by a coin in 2003 itself. The new notes were not only modern in design¸ but also had an updated security feature.
There are proposals that the states of Gambia¸ Ghana¸ Nigeria¸ and Sierra Leone¸ along with the French-speaking state of Guinea will launch a common currency¸ the Eco¸ on 1 January 2015. Liberia may also join this group which is named as the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ).
Currency Exchange Rate to other World Famous Currencies like US¸ UK etc
As of March 1st¸ 2011¸ the currency exchange rates of West African CFA Franc to the currencies of US and UK are:
1.00 USD = 474.446 XOF
1.00 GBP = 773.667 XOF
However¸ the values are floating¸ and the exchange rates always tend to change according to the money market trends.
Official website details of West African CFA Franc
You can check the official website for West African CFA Franc at www.bceao.int to know more details about the currency.