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Benin Franc: A Brief History and Current Value


Benin Franc: A Brief History and Current Value

The Benin franc is the official currency of Benin, a West African country that borders Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso, and Niger. The Benin franc was introduced in 1960, when Benin gained its independence from France and joined the African Financial Community (AFC), a monetary union of former French colonies. The Benin franc is pegged to the euro at a fixed rate of 655.957 francs per euro, and is issued by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), which also serves seven other AFC members.

A 5000 Benin franc banknote

A 5000 Benin franc banknote

The History of the Benin Franc

The history of the Benin franc can be traced back to the colonial era, when Benin was known as Dahomey and was part of French West Africa. The French franc was the official currency of Dahomey until 1945, when the CFA franc (Colonies françaises d’Afrique) was created to facilitate trade and monetary integration among the French colonies. The CFA franc was initially pegged to the French franc at a rate of 100 CFA francs per French franc, and later to the French new franc at a rate of 50 CFA francs per new franc.

In 1958, Dahomey became an autonomous republic within the French Community, and in 1960, it declared its full independence and changed its name to Benin. The newly independent country adopted the CFA franc as its national currency, but renamed it as the Communaute Financiere Africaine (African Financial Community) franc to reflect its sovereignty. The Benin franc was subdivided into 100 centimes until 1973, when the centime was abolished due to inflation.

The Current Value of the Benin Franc


The History of the Benin Franc

The current value of the Benin franc is determined by its fixed exchange rate with the euro, which was established in 1999 when the euro replaced the French new franc as the anchor currency of the AFC. The exchange rate of 655.957 francs per euro has remained unchanged since then, despite the fluctuations of the euro against other major currencies. This means that the Benin franc has a stable value within the AFC zone, but may lose or gain purchasing power against other currencies depending on their exchange rates with the euro.

The Benin franc is not widely traded or accepted outside of the AFC zone, so travelers and traders may need to convert it to other currencies before leaving or entering Benin. The most common currencies that can be exchanged with the Benin franc are the US dollar, the British pound, and the Nigerian naira. The exchange rates of these currencies with the Benin franc vary depending on market conditions and availability. As of May 4th, 2023, one US dollar was worth about 549.76 Benin francs, one British pound was worth about 762.35 Benin francs, and one Nigerian naira was worth about 1.36 Benin francs.

Conclusion


The Current Value of the Benin Franc

The Benin franc is a currency that has a long and rich history, dating back to the colonial era and reflecting the political and economic changes that have shaped Benin’s identity. The Benin franc is also a currency that has a stable and fixed value within its monetary union with other former French colonies in West Africa, but may face challenges in terms of international trade and competitiveness due to its peg to the euro. The Benin franc is a currency that represents both the past and present of Benin, a country that strives for development and integration in a globalized world.

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