List of currencies in Africa

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African currency was originally formed from basic items, materials, animals and even people available in the locality to create a medium of exchange. This started to change from the 17th century onwards, as European colonial powers introduced their own monetary system into the countries they administered. As African countries achieved independence during the 20th century, some retained the new denominations that had been introduced, though others renamed their currencies for various reasons. Today inflation often creates a demand for more stable (but forbidden) foreign currency, while in rural areas the original bartering system is still in widespread usage. As of January 1, 2013, the Zambian Kwacha (ZMW) has the strongest currency in Africa.

African History[edit]

In pre-colonial times African currency included shells, ingots, Gold (gold dust and gold coins (the Asante)), arrowheads, iron, salt, cattle, goats, blankets, axes, beads, and many others. In the early 19th century a slave could be bought in West Africa with manilla currency; multiples of X-shaped rings of bronze or other metal that could be strung on a staff. During Colonial times (roughly from 1680 to 1990) the respective colonial powers introduced their own currencies to their colonies or produced local versions of their currencies. Examples include the Somali shilling; the Italian East African lira; and the African franc (in Francophone countries). Many post-colonial governments have retained the name and notional value unit system of their prior colonial era currency. For example, the British West African pound was replaced by the Nigerian pound which was divided into shillings, before being replaced by the Naira.

A different trend is seen when the predominant foreign power relationship changes, causing a change in the currency: the East African rupee (from long-term trade with Arabia and India) was replaced by the East African shilling after the British became the predominant power in the region. Other countries threw off the dominant currency of a neighbour; the Botswana pula replaced the South African rand in Botswana in 1976. Some countries have not changed their currency despite being post-colonial, for example Uganda retains the Ugandan shilling.

Many African countries change their currency's appearance when a new government takes power (often the new head of state will appear on bank notes), though the notional value remains the same. Also, in many African currencies there is such rampant inflation that re-valuing must take place every so often (viz. the Zimbabwe dollar). There is a thriving street trade by unlicensed street traders in US dollars or other stable currency, which are seen as a hedge against local inflation. The exchange rate is grossly more favourable to the seller of the foreign currency than is the official bank rate, and is usually labelled a crime.[citation needed]

In many rural areas there is still a strong bartering culture, the exchanged items being of more immediate value than official currency (following the principle that one can eat a chicken, but not a coin). Even where currency is used, haggling over prices is very common. This is in contrast with the pre-independence Rhodesian dollar which was always a strong currency linked to the British pound.

There is a planned West African Monetary Zone among Anglophone African countries planned for implementation in 2009. Similarly in East Africa, the member countries of the East African Community plan to introduce a single currency, the East African Shilling in 2012. [1]

Present Currencies[edit]

Present Currencies of African Countries
Currency ISO Country Currency
DZD  Algeria Algerian dinar
AOA  Angola Kwanza
XOF  Benin CFA franc
BWP  Botswana Pula
XOF  Burkina Faso CFA franc
BIF  Burundi Burundi franc
XAF  Cameroon CFA franc
CVE  Cape Verde Cape Verdean escudo
XAF  Central African Republic CFA franc
XAF  Chad CFA franc
KMF  Comoros Comorian franc
XAF  Republic of the Congo CFA franc
CDF  Democratic Republic of the Congo Congolese franc
DJF  Djibouti Djiboutian franc
EGP  Egypt Egyptian pound
XAF  Equatorial Guinea CFA franc
ERN  Eritrea Nakfa
ETB  Ethiopia Ethiopian birr
XAF  Gabon CFA franc
GMD  Gambia Dalasi
GHS  Ghana Ghanaian cedi
GNF  Guinea Guinean franc
XOF  Guinea-Bissau CFA franc
XOF  Ivory Coast CFA franc
KES  Kenya Kenyan shilling
LSL  Lesotho Loti
LRD  Liberia Liberian dollar
LYD  Libya Libyan dinar
MGA  Madagascar Malagasy ariary
MWK  Malawi Malawian kwacha
XOF  Mali CFA franc
MRO  Mauritania Ouguiya
MUR  Mauritius Mauritian rupee
MAD  Morocco Moroccan dirham
MZN  Mozambique Mozambican metical
NAD  Namibia Namibian dollar
XOF  Niger CFA franc
NGN  Nigeria Naira
RWF  Rwanda Rwandan franc
STD  Sao Tome and Principe Dobra
XOF  Senegal CFA franc
SCR  Seychelles Seychellois rupee
SLL  Sierra Leone Sierra Leonean leone
SOS  Somalia shilling
ZAR  South Africa South African rand
SSP  South Sudan South Sudanese pound
SDG  Sudan Sudanese pound
SZL  Swaziland Lilangeni
TZS  Tanzania Tanzanian shilling
XOF  Togo CFA franc
TND  Tunisia Tunisian dinar
UGX  Uganda Ugandan shilling
ZMW  Zambia Zambian kwacha
ZWD  Zimbabwe Zimbabwean dollar(No longer in use)

External links[edit]