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List of 54 Currencies in Africa

Last updated on August 11th, 2023 at 07:46 pm

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There are 54 countries in Africa, and each of the countries has their legal tender which is used as a medium of exchange and accepted as means of payment for goods and services.

Ouguiya is for Mauritania; Metical is for Mozambique while Malagasy ariary is the official currency of Madagascar

CFA francs for instance is peculiar to 14 African countries such as Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Togo, Benin, Chad, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Central Africa, and Congo.

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List of Currencies In Africa, Code and Symbol

There are 54 countries in Africa according to the United Nations data while there are four dependent territories. 

CountryCode and Symbol
Algeria (Dinar)DZD (DA)
Angola (Kwanza)AOA (KZ)
Benin Republic (CFA Franc) XOF
Botswana (Pula)BWP (P)
Burundi (Burundi Franc)BIF (FBU)
Burkina Faso ( CFA Franc)XOF (CFA)
Egypt (Pound)EGP (E£)
DR Congo (Francs)CDF (FC)
Djibouti (Djibouti Franc)DJF (FDJ)
Equatorial Guinea (CFA Franc BEAC)XAF (FCFA)
Cameroon (CFA Franc BEAC)XAF (FCFA)
Cape Verde (Cape Verde Escudo)CVE ($)
Central African Republic (CFA Franc)XAF (FCFA)
Chad  (CFA Franc)XAF (FCFA)
Comoros (Comoros Franc)KMF (CF)
Cote d’Ivoire (CFA Franc)XOF (CFA)
Eritrea (Eritrean Nakfa)ERN (Nkf)
Ethiopia (Birr)ETB (Br)
Gabon (CFA Franc)XAF (FCFA)
Gambia (Dalasi)GMD (D)
Ghana (Cedi)GHS (GH₵)
Libya (Dinar)LYD (LD)
Madagascar (Malagasy ariary)MGA (Ar)
Malawi (Kwacha)MWK (K)
Liberia (Dollar)LRD (L$, LD$)
Guinea-Bissau (Guinea-Bissau Peso)GWP (CFA)
Guinea (Franc)GNF (FG)
Kenya (Shillings )KES (KSh)
Lesotho (Loti)LSL (L or M)
Mali (CFA Franc)XOF (CFA)
Mauritania (Ouguiya)MRO
Mauritius (Rupees)MUR (Rs)
Morocco (Dirham)MAD (DH)
Mozambique (Metical)MZN (MT)
Namibia (Dollar) NAD ($, N$)
Niger (CFA Franc) XOF (CFA)
Nigeria (Naira)NGN (₦)
Republic of the Congo (Franc)XAF (FCFA)
Zimbabwe (Dollar)ZWD (K)
Sierra Leone (Leone)SLL (Sl)
Somalia (Shillings)SOS (Sh)
Seychelles (Rupees)SCR (SR)
Senegal (CFA Franc)XOF (CFA)
São Tomé and Principe (Dobra)STD (Db)
Rwanda (Franc)RWF (FRw, RF, R₣)
South Sudan (Pound)SSP (SS£)
Sudan (Pound)SDG (SDG)
Swaziland (Lilangeni)SZL
South Africa (Rand)ZAR (R)
Tanzania (Shillings)TZS (TSh)
Togo  (CFA Franc)XOF (CFA)
Tunisia (Dinar)TND (DT)
Zambia ( Kwacha)ZMW (K)
Uganda (Shillings)UGX (USh)
  

Dependent territories in Africa

As stated earlier, there are four dependent territories on the African continent. The listed below and their claimant

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TerritoriesClaimants
ReunionFrance
Saint HelenaUnited Kingdom
MayotteFrance
Western Saharadisputed

Reunion is the most confusing of them all, some people think Reunion is an African country, but it is not. Reunion is one of the overseas territories of France.

In the pre-colonial era, African countries adopted their own means of exchange. For instance, in Nigeria, there was trade by barter system.

In layman’s words, trade by barter is using your own goods in exchange for other goods you’re in need of. This means, that if you have a cup of garri and you need a cup of beans, you’d have to look for someone who had beans and who is in need of garri.

This is still being practised in some communities across Africa, nationally, the trade by barter system has been replaced by legal tender globally known as “currency”.

Today, all African countries have their currency backed by law, circulated as banknotes and coins which they use for socio-economic activities.

Means of Trade Exchange During the Pre-colonial Era in Africa

  • Foodstuffs
  • Shells
  • Salt
  • Cattle
  • Goats
  • Ingots
  • Gold
  • Arrowheads,
  • Axes,
  • Beads
  • Iron,
  • Blankets,
  • Slaves

New Face of African Currencies

In the 1950s and 60s, some of the African countries began to gain Independence.

Some of them changed their currency’s appearance when a new government takes power (often the new head of state will appear on banknotes), though the notional value remains the same.

Also, in many African currencies, there have been episodes of rampant inflation, resulting in the need for currency revaluation e.g. the Zimbabwe dollar, which is among the top weakest currencies in Africa.

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Due to the mismanagement of their resources due to poor leadership on the continent, most of the currencies in Africa lost their value except the Tunisian dinar and Libyan Dinar. At a time, the Libyan dinar was the strongest currency on the continent for decades before it was relegated to the second position by the Tunisian currency.

The poor valuation of some of the African currencies culminated in some of them pegging their currency to the US dollar.

1USD was N0.658 in 1972 during the regime of Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), today. 1USD to Naira is at least NGN415 at the CBN exchange rate (you can check our History of US Dollar to Naira CBN Exchange Rate from 1972 till date)) while $1 is worth at least NGN580 (buy) and NGN590 or more (sell) at the black market rate, a speculative market that dominates Nigeria’s FX market.

Trading Currencies Against Stable Currency

In what can be described as Blackmarket exchange market (which is illegal), most African countries now have a free market where dollars, Pounds, Euro are traded.

Hundreds of traders make millions from the venture, which has some negative effects on their economy.

Attempt on regional currency

There had been several plans to adopt a unified regional currency. But such moves failed because of the political will among member countries.

For instance, there was a planned West African Monetary Zone among Anglophone African countries planned for implementation in 2009. It failed.

Also, member countries of the East African Community planned to introduce a single currency, the East African shilling in 2012.

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Does this hinder trade with African countries?

Definitely, NO. You can engage any African country in global trade.

Final thought:

On the global scene, less than 5 of the African currencies perform fairly well. Within the continent, the Tunisian dinar and Libyan Dinar remain the strongest,

For instance, just 10K Libyan Dinar will fetch you N160,4035.07 in Nigerian currency. This doesn’t mean that the Naira is the weakest on the continent, but its economic strength hasn’t shown any significant power in its currency.

Author

  • Opeyemi Quadri

    Ope is a finance writer and researcher with 10+ years of experience in content creation. His interests cut across decentralized finance, investment, foreign exchange, government policies and politics.

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