A practical currency and money guide to travel, living and doing business in Benin and the West African franc (XOF).
What's in this Benin currency guide:
The official currency of Benin (country code: BJ) is the West African franc, with symbol and currency code XOF.
The West Africa CFA franc (XAF) is the currency of six independent states in Western Africa - Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
In several central African states the Central African CFA franc (currency code XAF) is in circulation, such as Cameroon - Central African CFA franc. The Central African CFA franc is of equal value to the West African franc. Both XAF and XOF currencies are referred to as the CFA franc.
Benin is a country located in West Africa. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and history, including the Dahomey Kingdom which was a powerful empire in the region in the 18th and 19th centuries. The official language is French, but many people also speak local languages such as Fon and Yoruba. The country has a tropical climate, with a rainy season from April to July and a dry season from November to April. Agriculture is an important part of the economy, and the main crops include corn, cassava, and beans. Benin is also known for its textiles and crafts, and there are many markets in the country where you can find a wide range of handmade items.
There are many things to see and do in Benin, here are a few ideas:
Visit the Royal Palace of Abomey: This UNESCO World Heritage Site was the capital of the Dahomey Kingdom and is now a museum that showcases the history and culture of the kingdom.
Explore the city of Ouidah: This city is known for its history as a major slave-trading port, and there are several museums and historical sites to visit including the Door of No Return and the Temple of Pythons.
Take a boat trip on Lake Nokoué: This large lake is located near the coast and is a great place to go boating and see local wildlife such as crocodiles and waterbirds.
Visit the Fondation Zinsou: This art museum in Cotonou features works by artists from Benin and other African countries, as well as international artists.
Explore the beaches: Benin has a long coastline on the Gulf of Guinea, and there are many beautiful beaches to visit. Some popular spots include Grand-Popo and Ouidah.
Go shopping at the market: Benin is known for its handicrafts and textiles, and there are many markets where you can find a wide range of handmade items.
Learn about traditional medicine: Benin has a long tradition of using plants and other natural remedies for healing, and there are several organizations that offer tours and workshops on traditional medicine.
Take a trip to the Atakora Mountains: These mountains in the north of the country are known for their natural beauty, and there are several hiking trails and scenic viewpoints to visit.
Travelers to Benin should be aware of the following laws and customs:
It is illegal to bring illegal drugs into the country.
It is against the law to photograph military or government buildings or personnel.
It is illegal to engage in homosexual activity in Benin.
It is important to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or rural areas.
It is customary to ask permission before taking photographs of people.
It is important to respect local customs and traditions. For example, it is considered rude to show the soles of your feet or to touch someone's head.
It is illegal to import certain items into the country, including guns and ammunition, pornography, and certain types of medications.
It is important to have your passport and visa with you at all times, as you may be required to show them to authorities.
It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol.
It is always a good idea to research the local laws and customs of a country before traveling there, and to follow the advice of local authorities while you are there.
Here we list some key points for expats and businesses to consider when managing financial dealings in Benin:
Understand West African franc currency exchange rates: Exchange rates can have a big impact on your finances, so it is important to keep an eye on the XOF exchange rate and consider using a currency exchange service or a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees to get the best exchange rate.
Use a local West African franc bank account: A local XOF bank account can make it easier for you to manage your finances and pay bills while you are in Benin. It may also be more convenient to use a local XOF bank account to make purchases and withdraw cash.
Research local laws and regulations: It is important to understand the local laws and regulations that apply to financial transactions in Benin. This can help you avoid legal issues and ensure that you are complying with local requirements.
Consider the tax implications: It is important to understand the tax implications of living or doing business in Benin. This can help you plan your finances and ensure that you are paying the correct amount of tax.
Seek financial advice: If you are unsure of how to manage your finances in Benin, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a financial professional who is familiar with the local financial system. This can help you make informed decisions and avoid financial pitfalls.
The exchange rate of West African franc (XOF), or the amount of XOF that can be exchanged for a foreign currency, can fluctuate rapidly based on a number of factors, including economic conditions, interest rates, and political events. Below you can check the latest USD/XOF rate plus recent trend, chart, forecasts and historic rates.
12 May 2023
|1.9% ▲||2 Week|
25 Feb 2023
|1.5% ▼||3 Month|
26 May 2022
|0% ▲||1 Year|
27 May 2018
|8.9% ▲||5 Year|
28 May 2013
|20% ▲||10 Year|
31 May 2003
|10.2% ▲||20 Year|
The West Africa CFA franc has a fixed rate of exchange with the euro (and previously the French franc) set at 1 euro = 655.957 XOF. The XOF franc is characterised as a credible and stable currency, a significant virtue given the experience of most currency-issuing African nations.
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make an International Money Transfer to Benin or planning a trip or maybe living there, so will need to exchange and spend West African franc.
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It is important to note that the exchange rate of the West African franc can change rapidly and that past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance. It is advisable to carefully consider the risks and factors that may affect XOF exchange rates before making any financial decisions.