Central African Franc
This is a foreign exchange guide to Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Franc currency plus sending XAF transfers and travel tips.
In this Equatorial Guinea 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 Equatorial Guinea - currency & money saving tips
- Buying Central African Franc cash online - travel money for Equatorial Guinea
- Sending money to Equatorial Guinea - save on Central African Franc bank transfers to Equatorial Guinea
- 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 Equatorial Guinea
The capital, Malabo, boasts fascinating colonial architecture alongside sleek oil company high-rises, yet retains its African flavour with colourful markets and a bustling port. On Bioko Island, are volcanic views, fishing villages, rainforests full of endangered primates, vibrant birdlife and shores of nesting sea turtles.
What currency should I use in Equatorial Guinea?
Cash is king in Equatorial Guinea. Make sure you have plenty of foreign currency to exchange for large purchases such as airline tickets. Equatorial Guinea is a part of the French Monetary Area, and the Bank of Central African States (Banque des Etats de l’Afrique Centrale) issues currency called the Communaute Financiere Africaine franc, which is abbreviated XAF or CFA.
ATMs can be found at all banks in Malabo and Bata, but not elsewhere. They often don't work, only take Visa cards and only give small amounts (usually no more than CFA100,000 per day), meaning frequent trips to the bank. Note that many ATMs start to run dry from Thursday evenings in anticipation of the weekend. This is particularly noticeable towards the end of the month. You can change euros or US dollars at banks in most towns or bureaux de change such as Pecunia Express that has branches in both Malabo and Bata.
Credit cards can only be used in top-end hotels and restaurants. Local airlines and car-hire agencies do not generally accept credit cards. You cannot withdraw cash over the counter in banks using your credit card.
Getting around in Equatorial Guinea.
Malabo International Airport lies 9km west of the city centre.. In the main building, there is a cafe, a bank that is only open during banking hours, and an ATM that often does not accept cards. It's worth having euros or dollars in small denominations if you are unable to withdraw cash and have to pay for a taxi in foreign currency.
Roads are excellent in Equatorial Guinea. There are tolls on all roads outside of the cities that cost CFA500 per vehicle. Car hire is expensive: expect to pay at least CFA70,000 per day, and there's a hefty deposit of around CFA250,000.In towns and cities, there are plenty of shared taxis to hail for short journeys. They are usually white with a coloured stripe along the side. They will hoot if they're free, and if they are not going in your direction, will simply drive away. There is no railway in Equatorial Guinea.
Travel money for Equatorial Guinea
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.
Equatorial Guinea Trip Checklist
Sending money to Equatorial Guinea
When searching around for information on how to get a good exchange rate when sending money to Equatorial Guinea 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 Equatorial Guinea
When sending money to Equatorial Guinea 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 Equatorial Guinea.
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!