Saturday, August 14, 2010

The XOF and the IMF. Who knew?

The Communuate Financiere Africaine Franc, otherwise known as the CFA Franc (XOF) is the common currency of 14 African countries which are members of the Franc Zone -

Benin, Burkina, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo whose common central bank is the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO)

and

Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Chad whose common central bank is the Bank of Central African States (BEAC).

The CFA Franc was created on December 26, 1945, the day when France ratified the Bretton Woods agreement and made its first declaration of parity to the IMF.  I've worked at the IMF for 26 years and I am embarrassed to admit that I did not know that there is a historical relationship between the CFA Franc and the IMF.  *sigh*.

The modern day CFA Franc is pegged to the Euro.  At today's exchange rate, 1 Euro = 656 XOF.

Unfortunately, our credit union doesn't carry the XOF which means I won't be able to buy any XOFs before I leave.  So, my plan is to use Euros in Senegal and see if I can find an ATM that will work with my US bank card.  Otherwise, I will have to convert to XOFs when I get to Bamako.