CFA Franc meaning

CFA Franc means Communauté Financière Africaine Franc (French) which translates to African Financial Community Franc.

It is a currency used by 8 West and 6 Central African countries that were formerly French colonies.

CFA franc stands for either Central African CFA franc (XAF) or West African CFA franc (XOF) or both.

They are both commonly known as CFA franc.

The Central African CFA franc is of equal value to the West African CFA franc.

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 has been carried out at Chamalières by the Bank of France since its creation in 1945.


West African CFA franc (XOF):

  • West African Economic and Monetary Union
  • Central Bank of France

Central African CFA franc (XAF):

  • Central Africa Economic and Monetary Community
  • Central Bank of France

The dual monetary unions the regulate the currencies help cement the value and usability of the CFA franc

Although they are separate currencies, both are interchangeable as they often have the same monetary value against other currencies.

The French government or the monetary unions using the currencies could decide to change the value of one or the other.

West African CFA franc, simply franc, is the currency of 8 countries in West Africa, that were formerly French colonies but have refused to have their own currencies after independence, namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

The countries make up the former French colonies’ West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA; Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine),

The Central African CFA Franc (XAF) is the official currency of 6 central African countries, namely: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon.

Launched in 1945 as the franc of the French colonies of Africa, the currency is backed by the French treasury.

Banknotes of the XAF are issued in denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 francs, while coins circulate in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 francs.

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.