Central African Franc
This is a foreign exchange guide to Cameroon, the Central African Franc currency plus sending XAF transfers and travel tips.
In this Cameroon currency guide we take a look at :
- Central African Franc info - general info about the Central African Franc
- Central African Franc in the markets - recent XAF moves and predictions from the FX markets
- Travelling in Cameroon - currency & money saving tips
- Buying Central African Franc cash online - travel money for Cameroon
- Sending money to Cameroon - save on Central African Franc bank transfers to Cameroon
- Central African Franc exchange rates - latest & historic exchange rates.
Central African Franc (XAF) general currency information
What is the Central African Franc currency code and symbol?
The three letter currency code for the Central African Franc is XAF and the symbol is FCFA.
Which countries use the Central African Franc?
The Central African CFA franc is the currency of the above six independent states in Central Africa having been previously introduced to the previously French colonies in Equatorial Africa in 1945, replacing the French Equatorial African franc. The currency continued in use when these colonies gained their independence. Equatorial Guinea, the only former Spanish colony in the zone, adopted the CFA franc in 1984.
In several west African states, the West African CFA franc, which is of equal value to the Central African CFA franc, is in circulation.
A social movement is developing to demand the joint withdrawal of African nations from the CFA franc.
The CFA franc is characterised as a credible and stable currency, a significant virtue given the experience of most currency-issuing African nations. This counter-argument is, however, flawed: experience shows that nations like Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, which post independence withdrew from the franc zone and mint their own currency, are stronger economically than any user of the CFA franc.
It is also claimed that the CFA franc has allowed inflation to be pegged at a rate considerably lower than the African average. For its critics, however, the counterpart of this low inflation rate is weak economic growth and the creation of fewer jobs. Not to mention that this low average inflation rate does not prevent cities like Dakar from ranking among the most ‘expensive’ in the world.
On 7 January 2017, on the initiative of ‘SOS Pan-Africa’ (‘Urgences Panafricanistes’), an NGO set up and run by the activist Kemi Séba, anti-CFA demonstrations were organised in several African and European cities, and in Haïti. The mobilisations varied in size according to country, bringing together intellectuals, pan-Africanist and anti-globalisation activists and others. SOS Pan-Africa has since issued a symbolic appeal for Africans to boycott French products. The current alternative to the CFA franc in West Africa is the joint currency planned for members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The new currency was due to enter circulation in 2015, but this has since been deferred until 2020.
Central African Franc (XAF) in the markets
The Central African CFA franc has a fixed rate of exchange with the euro (and previously the French franc) set at 1 euro = 655.957 CFA francs.
The interactive chart below shows the USD to XAF exchange rate and trend for the previous 3 months:
Travel, Currency and Money saving tips for Cameroon
Often referred to as “Africa in Miniature,” this California-size country offers plenty to do within its borders. Cameroon’s largest city, Douala, is one of the most important economic centers in Central Africa, and Yaoundé, Cameroon’s capital, is over 100 years old and full of stories. In addition, Cameroon has a diverse landscape ranging from gorgeous tropical beaches to breathtaking mountain vistas.
With reasonable road infrastructure, travel is a lot easier here than in many parts of Africa. Still, you'll miss none of those indicators that you're in the middle of this fascinating continent: everyone seems to be carrying something on their heads, makossa music sets the rhythm, the street smells like roasting plantains and African bliss is just a piece of grilled fish and a sweating beer away.
What currency should I use in Cameroon?
The currency is the Central African franc (CFA), ATMs are still a rarity in Cameroon. They're at the banks and hotels in Yaounde and Douala, but more difficult to find in other towns. The most acceptable credit card is Visa, then Mastercard, and AMEX. Cameroon has a cash economy, most businesses don't accept credit cards or travelers checks. Take Euro's as these are most easily changed. American dollars and travellers cheques are much more difficult to exchange, but Euro's can be exchange in places around the country, especially main cities. Euro travelers' cheques, from Visa/Mastercard are the most widely used and strongly recommended. Most of the main banks will exchange these, however service is slow, and plenty of time needs to be allowed for service. The quickest way to transfer money in an emergency is by Western Union, which has offices in Douala, and Yaounde.
Remember to keep CFA 10,000 or US$20 for departure tax at the airport. Departure tax on internal flights is CFA500, or US$1.00. Due to the exchange rate, it is cheaper to pay in CFA.
How should I travel in Cameroon?
There are three major airports in Cameroon: Douala International Airport (DLA), Nsimalen International Airport (NSI), and Yaounde International Airport (YAO). The one you are most likely to use is the Doula International Airport, as it is located in the economic capital of the country and is the busiest in the nation. Domestically, there is regular daily service between Douala, Yaounde, and other smaller towns.
Agences de voyages (agency buses, running from depots also called agences) run along all major and many minor routes in Cameroon. Prices are low and fixed, and on some bus lines you can even reserve a seat. From Yaoundé to Douala it costs anywhere between CFA3000 and CFA6000, depending on the class of bus you take: so-called VIP services have air-conditioning and aren't quite so cramped. However, some drivers are extremely reckless, and bus accidents occur all too frequently.
Cameroon's rail system (Camrail) operates three main lines: Yaoundé to N'Gaoundéré; Yaoundé to Douala; and Douala to Kumba. In 2016 a tragic derailment between Douala and Yaoundé killed 70 passengers and injured many more. Check locally about the current state of train safety.
Travel tips for Cameroon.
French and English are the official languages of Cameroon. Several native languages are spoken as well.
Recommended immunizations include yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and meningitis. Plan to pack antimalarial medications, insect repellent, and loose, long-sleeved clothing to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
The country is broken up into ten regions: Adamaoua, Centre, East, Extrême-Nord (Extreme North), Littoral, North, Northwest, West, South, and Southwest.
In most cases, you will need a visa to enter Cameroon. If you’re flying into the country, arrange your visa with your local embassy before your trip. If you’re traveling by land, it might be possible to arrange a visa with Cameroon’s neighboring countries, but we do advise taking care of this matter before you hit the road.
Travel money for Cameroon
Save money and time by Ordering your Central African Franc online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the XAF cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Central African Franc otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Cameroon Trip Checklist
Sending money to Cameroon
When searching around for information on how to get a good exchange rate when sending money to Cameroon you need to start with finding out the latest Central African Franc foreign-transfer exchange rate.
Then compare your bank's exchange rates to several licensed FX providers exchange rate and fees to see how much you can save (we make that calculation easy here).
Get a better deal for foreign transfers to Cameroon
When sending money to Cameroon it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 4 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or Central African Franc amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted XAF amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Cameroon.
Use our Send to XAF calculator to compare the exchange rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Central African Franc deposited into the recipient bank account and less margins and fees kept by the banks!