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New currency ‘eco’ to replace CFA franc but will remain pegged to euro

A closeup of the CFA franc
A closeup of the CFA franc France 24

On a visit to Ivory Coast, French President Emmanuel Macron and Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara on Saturday announced an overhaul of the CFA franc, a currency used by eight states in West and Central Africa, most of them former French colonies.

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To watch our special edition about the historic currency reform in Africa, click on the video player.

The French-backed currency was established in 1945 and initially pegged to the French franc but has been linked to the euro for about two decades. Former French colonies Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo still use the currency, as does Guinea-Bissau.

Map of states using the CFA franc
Map of states using the CFA franc France 24

The currency will be renamed the “eco” next year and French officials will no longer be represented on its governing bodies, Ouattara said. In addition, a requirement that the eco's member states keep half their foreign reserves in France will be rescinded.

The currency will remain pegged to the euro, guaranteeing its stability, Ouattara said.

Macron and France's Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire both described the reform as “historic”, with Macron pledging: “The eco will see the light of day in 2020.”

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

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