The eight autonomous West African nations that make up the West African Economic and Monetary Union—Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo—all use the West African CFA franc as their official currency. In 2014, the population of these eight nations as a whole was 105.7 million, and their GDP was $128.6 billion.
CFA stands for the Community Financial Association of Africa ("African Financial Community"). For the members of the UEMOA, the currency is released by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO; Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest), situated in Dakar, Senegal.
Although there are 100 centimes in a franc, there are currently no centime denominations available. Since its founding in 1945, the Bank of France has produced coins and notes in Chamalières in addition to those of about 20 other nations. In circulation in a number of central African republics, the CFA franc of Central Africa has parity with the CFA franc of West Africa. Both currencies are frequently referred to as the CFA franc.
It was announced in December 2019 that the West African CFA franc would undergo reform, which would reduce France's influence over the currency and rename it the eco. The countries of UEMOA are also members of the larger Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which wants to launch its own common currency for its members by 2027 and has formally adopted the moniker "eco".
The Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique Occidentale had issued notes in the denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 1000 francs at the time the CFA franc was launched. In 1946, 500-franc notes were issued, and in 1948, 5,000-franc notes.
The creation of paper money was transferred to the Institut d'Emission de l'A.O.F. et du Togo in 1955, which issued notes for 50, 100, 500, and 1000 francs. The BCEAO resumed issuing paper money in 1959 and reintroduced a 5,000-franc note. The notes of the BCEAO include a letter to identify the country of issuance, with the exception of a few early issues.
The following are the country letter codes:
The use of the country codes allows for the identification and classification of the movement of currency among the CFA franc nations, as well as the return of banknotes to their country of origin. The last 50-franc note was printed in 1959, and the last 100-franc note was printed in 1965. The first 10,000 franc notes were released in 1977, while the 2,500 franc notes were out in 1992.
The 500-franc note was replaced by a coin the previous year, and a new series of notes in the values of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 francs was released in 2004. The more recent notes have more up-to-date security measures and a more contemporary aesthetic.
The old notes were believed to be filthy and disease-ridden; thus, the change was welcomed. The 5,000-franc bill's color was altered from blue to green. A 500-franc banknote was released on November 30, 2012, by the Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest.
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