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New Currency For Central African States


On December 15 the Bank of Central African States or Banque des États de l’Afrique Centrale (BEAC) introduced new coins and bank notes simultaneously to all the states of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa or Communauté Économique et Monétaire de l’Afrique Centrale (CEMAC).

Bank notes were released in denominations of FCFA 500, FCFA 1,000, FCFA 2,000, FCFA 5,000 and FCFA 10,000. A FCFA 250 coin was also to be released. FCFA currency is subdivided into 100 centimes, however no coins of centime denominations have ever been issued by the currency union.

Little information was available on the coin at the time this article was being written. According to BEAC, the new notes will be “more compact, more modern, and more secure. The new notes will also carry all the official languages used in the sub-region.”

BEAC Governor Abbas Mahamat Tolli said the new notes will highlight “the official languages of the CEMAC countries, which are French, English, Arabic and Spanish, by declining in the inscription Bank of Central African States and in the face value of the notes.”

The BEAC indicated all previously issued 1992 and 2002 bank notes will be gradually withdrawn from circulation in Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo through March 1, 2023.

The October 7 Journal du Cameroun reported, “Reports has it that beyond its aesthetic or new aspect, a new range of bank notes responds above all to the problem of quality of its security and its ability to be difficult to counterfeit. It is also a question of facilitating its sorting by machines, because until now it has been carried out in a labor-intensive manner. However, almost all over the world bank notes are being sorted almost entirely by machine, with a view to improving the quality of bank note circulation and improving statistics on the evaluation of the money supply both at the sub-regional level and for each CEMAC country.”

The Central African CFA franc, abbreviated as the FCFA is used by the six independent African nations named earlier in this article. CFA stands for Coopération financière en Afrique centrale or Financial Cooperation in Central Africa. The BEAC is located in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

There are several West African states using the West African CFA franc, a currency that is on par to the FCFA currency. Each of these two regional currencies is backed by the French Treasury and is pegged to the European Union euro, but at a rate of one FCFA to 0.0015 euros.

The FCFA was created and pegged to the French franc in 1945. The currencies retained parity when France adopted the euro, but the value of the FCFA to the euro has since changed. In theory the French government or the monetary unions using either of the two regional African currencies could change the value of one or the other. In fact, the French Treasury controls 50 percent of the foreign exchange reserves for the countries involved in these currency unions.

Coins in the denomination of 100 francs were issued for each individual member state beginning in 1971. Between 1976 and 1996 each state also issued 50-franc coins, these coins carrying an identification letter for the country the individual coin represented. The letter A is for Chad, B for Central African Republic, C for Congo, D for Gabon, and E for Cameroon.

A 500-franc denomination was introduced in 1976, these being issued by the individual nations beginning in 1985. Equatorial Guinea jointed the BEAC in 1985, issuing coins in denominations of 5, 25, 50, and 100 francs.

The 100 franc became centralized in 1996, this being followed two years later by the 500-franc denomination. The coinage was redesigned in 2006, with a 2 franc added to the mix. This included a ringed bimetal 100 franc and a 500 franc on which laser markings were added as a security device. All the 2006 coins include the acronym CEMAC. All CEMAC coins have both a mint mark on the left on the reverse. The privy mark of the designer appears at the right. The new FCFA 250 coin is the first to be announced since that time.

Source: Numismatic News