West African CFA franc

West African CFA franc
The West African CFA franc (French: franc CFA or simply franc, ISO 4217 code: XOF; abbreviation: F.CFA) is the currency used by eight independent states in West Africa which make up the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA; Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine): Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. These eight countries had a combined population of 105.7 million people in 2014, and a combined GDP of US$128.6 billion (as of 2018).

The acronym CFA stands for Communauté Financière Africaine ("African Financial Community"). The currency is issued by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO; Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest), located in Dakar, Senegal, for the members of the UEMOA. The franc is nominally subdivided into 100 centimes but no coins or banknotes denominated in centimes have ever been issued. The production of CFA franc notes and coins has been carried out at Chamalières by the Bank of France since its creation in 1945.

The Central African CFA franc is of equal value to the West African CFA franc, and is in circulation in several central African states. They are both commonly referred to as the CFA franc.

In December 2019 it was announced that the West African CFA franc would be reformed, which will include renaming it the eco and reducing France's role in the currency. The broader Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), of which the members of UEMOA are also members, plans to introduce its own common currency for its member states by 2027, which they have also formally adopted the name of eco for.

The CFA franc was introduced to the French colonies in West Africa in 1945, replacing the French West African franc. The West African colonies and territories using the CFA franc were Ivory Coast, Dahomey, French Sudan, Mauritania, Niger, Sénégal, Togo and Upper Volta. The currency continued in use when these colonies gained their independence, except in Mali (formerly French Sudan), which replaced at par the CFA franc with its own franc in 1961.

In 1973, Mauritania replaced the CFA franc with the ouguiya at a rate of 1 ouguiya = 5 francs. Mali readopted the CFA franc in 1984, at a rate of 1 CFA franc = 2 Malian francs. The former Portuguese colony of Guinea-Bissau adopted the CFA franc in 1997, replacing the Guinea-Bissau peso at a rate of 1 CFA franc = 65 pesos.

The currency was pegged to the French franc at F.CFA 1 = F 2. from 1948, becoming 1 F.CFA = NF 0.02 after introduction of the new franc at 1 new franc = 100 old francs. In 1994 the currency was devalued by half to F.CFA 1 = F 0.01. From 1999 it has since been pegged to the euro at €1 = F 6.55957 = F.CFA 655.957

  • Benin
    Benin (, ; Bénin Benen), officially the Republic of Benin (République du Bénin), and formerly Dahomey, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, Burkina Faso to the north-west, and Niger to the north-east. The majority of its population lives on the southern coastline of the Bight of Benin, part of the Gulf of Guinea in the northernmost tropical portion of the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is Porto-Novo, and the seat of government is in Cotonou, the most populous city and economic capital. Benin covers an area of 114,763 km2 and its population in was estimated to be approximately million. It is a tropical country, with an economy significantly dependent on agriculture, and is an exporter of palm oil and cotton. Some employment and income arise from subsistence farming.

    From the 17th to the 19th century, political entities in the area included the Kingdom of Dahomey, the city-state of Porto-Novo, and other states to the north. This region was referred to as the Slave Coast from the early 17th century due to the high number of people who were sold and trafficked during the Atlantic slave trade to the New World. France took over the territory in 1894, incorporating it into French West Africa as French Dahomey. In 1960, Dahomey gained full independence from France. As a sovereign state, Benin has had democratic governments, military coups, and military governments. A self-described Marxist–Leninist state called the People's Republic of Benin existed between 1975 and 1990. In 1991, it was replaced by the multi-party Republic of Benin.
  • Burkina Faso
    Burkina Faso (, ;, ??????? ????) is a landlocked country in West Africa with an area of 274200 km2, bordered by Mali to the northwest, Niger to the northeast, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and the Ivory Coast to the southwest. As of 2021, the country had an estimated population of 20,321,378. Previously called Republic of Upper Volta (1958–1984), it was renamed Burkina Faso by President Thomas Sankara. Its citizens are known as Burkinabès, and its capital and largest city is Ouagadougou. Its name is often translated into English as the "Land of Honest Men".

    The largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso is the Mossi people, who settled the area in the 11th and 13th centuries. They established powerful kingdoms such as the Ouagadougou, Tenkodogo, and Yatenga. In 1896, it was colonized by the French as part of French West Africa; in 1958, Upper Volta became a self-governing colony within the French Community. In 1960, it gained full independence with Maurice Yaméogo as president. Throughout the decades post independence, the country was subject to instability, droughts, famines and corruption. Various coups have also taken place in the country, in 1966, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1987, and twice in 2022, in January and in September, as well as an attempt in 1989 and another in 2015.
  • Côte d'Ivoire
    Ivory Coast, also known as Côte d'Ivoire, officially the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, is a country on the southern coast of West Africa. Its capital is Yamoussoukro, in the centre of the country, while its largest city and economic centre is the port city of Abidjan. It borders Guinea to the northwest, Liberia to the west, Mali to the northwest, Burkina Faso to the northeast, Ghana to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) to the south. Its official language is French, and indigenous languages are also widely used, including Bété, Baoulé, Dioula, Dan, Anyin, and Cebaara Senufo. In total, there are around 78 different languages spoken in Ivory Coast. The country has a religiously diverse population, including numerous followers of Christianity, Islam and indigenous faiths such as Animism.

    Before its colonization by Europeans, Ivory Coast was home to several states, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, and Baoulé. The area became a protectorate of France in 1843 and was consolidated as a French colony in 1893 amid the European Scramble for Africa. It achieved independence in 1960, led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who ruled the country until 1993. Relatively stable by regional standards, Ivory Coast established close political-economic ties with its West African neighbours while maintaining close relations with the West, especially France. Its stability was diminished by a coup d'état in 1999, then two civil wars—first between 2002 and 2007 and again during 2010–2011. It adopted a new constitution in 2016.
  • Guinea-Bissau
    Guinea-Bissau (Guiné-Bissau; ???? ???????; Mandinka: ߖߌߣߍ ߺ ߓߌߛߊߥߏ߫ Gine-Bisawo), officially the Republic of Guinea-Bissau (República da Guiné-Bissau ), is a country in West Africa that covers 36125 km2 with an estimated population of 2,026,778. It borders Senegal to its north and Guinea to its southeast. Guinea-Bissau is the only Portuguese-speaking country in which Islam is the predominant religion.

    Guinea-Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Kaabu, as well as part of the Mali Empire. Parts of this kingdom persisted until the 18th century, while a few others were under some rule by the Portuguese Empire since the 16th century. In the 19th century, it was colonised as Portuguese Guinea. Portuguese control was restricted and weak until the early 20th century with the pacification campaigns, these campaigns solidified Portuguese sovereignty in the area. The final Portuguese victory over the remaining bastion of mainland resistance, the Papel ruled Kingdom of Bissau in 1915 by the Portuguese military office Teixeira Pinto, and recruited Wolof mercenary Abdul Injai was the event to solidify mainland control. The Bissagos, islands off the coast of Guinea-Bissau, were officially conquered in 1936, ensuring Portuguese control of both the mainland and islands of the region. Upon independence, declared in 1973 and recognised in 1974, the name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country's name to prevent confusion with Guinea (formerly French Guinea). Guinea-Bissau has a history of political instability since independence, and only one elected president (José Mário Vaz) has successfully served a full five-year term. The current president is Umaro Sissoco Embaló, who was elected on 29 December 2019.
  • Mali
    Mali, officially the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of over 1241238 km2. The population of Mali is million. 67% of its population was estimated to be under the age of 25 in 2017. Its capital and largest city is Bamako. The sovereign state of Mali consists of ten regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert. The country's southern part is in the Sudanian savanna, where the majority of inhabitants live, and both the Niger and Senegal rivers pass through. The country's economy centres on agriculture and mining. One of Mali's most prominent natural resources is gold, and the country is the third largest producer of gold on the African continent. It also exports salt.

    Present-day Mali was once part of three extremely powerful and wealthy West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire (for which Ghana is named), the Mali Empire (for which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. At its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire was the wealthiest country in Africa, covering an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of the continent. Mali was also one of the wealthiest countries on earth, and its emperor at its zenith, Mansa Musa, is believed to be possibly the wealthiest individual in history. Besides being an economic powerhouse, medieval Mali was a centre of Islam, culture and knowledge, with Timbuktu becoming a renowned place of learning with its university, one of the oldest in the world still active. The expanding Songhai Empire absorbed the empire in 1468, followed by a Saadian army which defeated the Songhai in 1591. In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959, achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal's withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a coup in 1991 led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state.
  • Niger
    Niger or the Niger, officially the Republic of the Niger (République du Niger, Jamhuriyar Nijar), is a landlocked country in West Africa. It is a unitary state bordered by Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria to the south, Benin and Burkina Faso to the southwest, Mali to the west, and Algeria to the northwest. It covers a land area of almost 1,270,000 km2, making it the largest landlocked country in West Africa. Over 80% of its land area lies in the Sahara. Its predominantly Muslim population of about million live mostly in clusters in the further south and west of the country. The capital Niamey is located in Niger's southwest corner.

    It is one of the least developed countries and is also one of the poorest countries in the world by GDP per capita. Some non-desert portions of the country underwent periodic drought and desertification. The economy is concentrated around subsistence agriculture, with some export agriculture in the less arid south, and export of raw materials, including uranium ore. It faces challenges to development due to its landlocked position, desert terrain, low literacy rate, jihadist insurgencies and the world's highest fertility rates due to birth control not being used and the resulting rapid population growth.
  • Senegal
    Senegal, officially the Republic of Senegal, is a country in West Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean coastline. Senegal is bordered by Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, Guinea to the southeast and Guinea-Bissau to the southwest. Senegal nearly surrounds the Gambia, a country occupying a narrow sliver of land along the banks of the Gambia River, which separates Senegal's southern region of Casamance from the rest of the country. Senegal also shares a maritime border with Cape Verde. Senegal's economic and political capital is Dakar.

    Senegal is notably the westernmost country in the mainland of the Old World, or Afro-Eurasia. It owes its name to the Senegal River, which borders it to the east and north. The climate is typically Sahelian, though there is a rainy season. Senegal covers a land area of almost 197000 km2 and has a population of around million. The state is a unitary presidential republic; since the country's foundation in 1960, it has been recognized as one of the most stable countries on the African continent.
  • Togo
    Togo, officially the Togolese Republic (République togolaise), is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, where its capital, Lomé, is located. It covers about 57,000 km2 with a population of approximately 8 million, and has a width of less than 115 km between Ghana and its eastern neighbor Benin.

    Various people groups settled the boundaries of present day Togo between the 11th to 16th centuries. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, the coastal region served primarily as a European slave trading outpost, earning Togo and the surrounding region the name "The Slave Coast". In 1884, Germany declared a region including a protectorate called Togoland. After World War I, rule over Togo was transferred to France. Togo gained its independence from France in 1960. In 1967, Gnassingbé Eyadéma led a successful military coup d'état, after which he became president of an anti-communist, single-party state. In 1993, Eyadéma faced multiparty elections marred by irregularities, and won the presidency three times. At the time of his death, Eyadéma was the "longest-serving leader in modern African history", having been president for 38 years. In 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbé was elected president.