Posted on by Anastasia R.

Formerly a French colony, Burkina Faso is a nation in West Africa. This nation became fully independent in 1960, which was a couple of years following the Republic of Upper Volta’s establishment. In 1984, its name, Burkina Faso, was adopted. Economically, this is an average country and its official currency is the West African franc. It shares this currency with seven other countries in West Africa.

These seven countries include Togo, Niger, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, and Benin. The stability of the currency and regional economic development has been greatly improved by these countries using a common currency. Burkina Faso is protected against the significant effects that a changing market could have by the establishment of a fixed rate of exchange of West African Franc with the euro. This also assures that Eurozone nations can more readily conduct trade. All of this leads to Burkina Faso having one of the most stable currencies in West Africa, with an inflation rate of approximately 3%.

Exchange Rates And Denominations

West African franc is made up of one hundred (100) subunits referred to as “c”, or centimes. The exclusive responsibility for issuing this piece of currency falls upon the Senegal-based Central Bank of West African States. Both in banknote and coin form, several denominations of the West African franc have been made since its introduction. Various materials have comprised these coins including steel, nickel, copper, bronze, aluminum, or a combination of some of the above. Currently, denominations of coins are 500, 250, 200, 100, 50, 25, 10, 5, and 1 franc. The denominations of existing bank notes are 10,000, 5000, 2000, 1000, and 500 francs. The euro exchanges with the West African franc at a rate of one euro to 655.957 CFA francs. Regarding the US dollar – the West African frank exchanges with it at a rate of 1XOF : 0.001731 United States dollar.

A Closer Look At The West African Franc

As referenced earlier, eight Western African countries use the West African franc. France formally colonized some of these countries which are, additionally, West African Monetary and Economic Union members. (This is a ECOWAS sub-regional bloc.) In the aftermath of the Second World War, the decline of the French West African franc influenced the 1945 introduction of the West African franc used today.

In 1959, the central bank of West Africa took over the currency which had been issued, initially, by the Institut d’Emmision de l’Afrique Occidentale Françoise et du Togo. Though one euro to 655.975 CFA francs is the fixed exchange value of the West African franc, it is, when compared to the Central African franc, of equal value. So in the Central African region, among former colonies of the French, the West African franc is similar to the Central African franc. Though they share the same abbreviation, CFA, they differ in their ISO currency codes. ISO codes are the three-letter alphabetic codes that represent currencies used throughout the world. West African francs ISO code is XOF, whereas Central African francs is XAF.

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