African currencies were formed from basic items to create a medium of exchange. They used to include shells, ingots, gold, iron, salt, cattle, and many other materials and goods.
The continent is now a long way from that time as it started to change, from around the 17th century, as European colonial powers made their way into the continent and introduced their own monetary system into each of the countries they administered.
Today, different African countries now have their unique currencies which were established as they gained independence in the 20th century. These currencies are used to trade within and outside their borders.
The different African currencies have their strengths and weaknesses. The Libyan Dinar, for instance, has an exchange rate of less than 2 Libyan dinars to a dollar. The South African Rand is among the most-traded currencies in the international forex market and the Zimbabwean dollar has since died and been replaced in Zimbabwe by the US dollar, the South African Rand, and or the Zambian Kwacha, based on your exact location within the country.
However, despite independence and sovereignty, some countries still share a particular unit of exchange. There are currently eight independent countries which use the West African Franc as their currency. There is also the Central African CFA Franc which is used by six independent countries as their unit of exchange.
The eight countries using the West African CFA franc are Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. It was introduced to these French colonies in 1945 as a replacement for the French West African Franc. Together, the countries have a combined population of over 105 million people and are all members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union. Also, the currency is issued by the Central Bank of the West African States which is located in Dakar, Senegal.
See Also: Top 7 Strongest African Currencies
For the Central African CFA Franc, the six independent states which use it in central Africa are Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. It was introduced in 1945, the same year as its western African counterpart, to replace the French Equatorial African franc. These six countries, which belong to the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, have a combined population of over 50 million people. The unit of exchange is issued by the Bank of the Central African States, which is located in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Below we list all currencies of Africa with their ISO-4217 codes.
List of African Currencies
|Benin||West African CFA franc||XOF|
|Burkina Faso||West African CFA franc||XOF|
|Cabo Verde||Cape Verdean escudo||CVE|
|Cameroon||Central African CFA franc||XAF|
|Central African Republic||Central African CFA franc||XAF|
|Chad||Central African CFA franc||XAF|
|The Democratic Republic of the Congo||Congolese franc||CDF|
|Congo||Central African CFA franc||XAF|
|Cote d’Ivoire||West African CFA franc||XOF|
|Equatorial Guinea||Central African CFA franc||XAF|
|Gabon||Central African CFA franc||XAF|
|Guinea-Bissau||West African CFA franc||XOF|
|Mali||West African CFA franc||XOF|
|Niger||West African CFA franc||XOF|
|Sao Tome and Principe||Sao Tome and Principe dobra||STD|
|Senegal||West African CFA franc||XOF|
|Sierra Leone||Sierra Leonean Leone||SLL|
|South Africa||South African Rand||ZAR|
|South Sudan||South Sudanese pound||SSP|
|Togo||West African CFA franc||XOF|
|Zimbabwe||United States dollar||USD|