Countries that Use Francs 2023

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What Is the Franc?

The franc is a unity of currency, comparable to the US dollar, the pound sterling, and the rupee, which was originally issued in France in 1360 and popular throughout Europe and Africa in the 20th century. The franc was largely supplanted by the euro in Europe beginning in 1999, but is still used by many countries in Africa—though its use is not without controversy. Like the names dollar and peso, the name franc is actually given to several different currencies, including the Swiss franc and the French franc.

The origin of the name franc is unsettled. One theory posits that the word is derived from the Latin Francorum Rex, which translates to "King of the Franks" and was inscribed on the original coin (alongside an image of King John II riding a horse). Another theory suggests the term is a variation of the French word franc, which can mean either "straightforward" or "free", depending upon the context.

What Countries Use the Franc Currently?

Although many Western European countries that once used the franc have switched to the European Union's euro, 22 countries and three territories still use a unit of currency directly denominated in francs. Of the 22 countries still using the franc, 20 are located in Africa.

Countries that Currently Use the Franc:

Country/Territory Franc Type ISO 4217 Code $1 USD (22 Nov 2022) =
Benin West African CFA franc XOF 638.66 XOF
Burkina Faso West African CFA franc XOF 638.66 XOF
Burundi Burundian franc BIF 2,053.87 BIF
Cameroon Central African CFA franc XAF 638.66 XAF
Central African Republic Central African CFA franc XAF 638.66 XAF
Chad Central African CFA franc XAF 638.66 XAF
Comoros Comorian franc KMF 478.78 KMF
Djibouti Djiboutian franc DJF 177.78 DJF
DR Congo Congolese franc CDF 2,035.30 CDF
Equatorial Guinea Central African CFA franc XAF 638.66 XAF
French Polynesia* CFP franc XPF 116.19 XPF
Gabon Central African CFA franc XAF 638.66 XAF
Guinea Guinean franc GNF 8,603.60 GNF
Guinea-Bissau West African CFA franc XOF 638.66 XOF
Ivory Coast West African CFA franc XOF 638.66 XOF
Liechtenstein Swiss franc CHF 0.95 CHF
Mali West African CFA franc XOF 638.66 XOF
New Caledonia* CFP franc XPF 116.19 XPF
Niger West African CFA franc XOF 638.66 XOF
Republic of the Congo Central African CFA franc XAF 638.66 XAF
Rwanda Rwandan franc RWF 1,075.51 RWF
Senegal West African CFA franc XOF 638.66 XOF
Switzerland Swiss franc CHF 0.95 CHF
Togo West African CFA franc XOF 638.66 XOF
Wallis and Futuna* CFP franc XPF 116.19 XPF

Note: Titles marked with * are semi-autonomous French territories

African variations on the French franc

Ironically, while France itself has adopted the euro, three of its territories—French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Futuna—still use the CFP franc, which was devised specifically for France's territories. France also created the CFA franc, which is still in use in many of its former colonies in Africa. The CFA franc exists in two interchangeable variations: the West African CFA franc (XOF), which is currently used by eight African nations, and the Central African CFA franc (XAF), currently used by six African countries. Another six African countries use their own version of the franc.

The CFP and both variations of CFA franc are all tied to the French monetary system, which has given France a questionable degree of control over the value of those countries' currency. A new currency dubbed the eco has been proposed as the new official currency for several African countries, including those presently using the West African CFA franc. However, implementation of the eco has been hampered by multiple complicating factors. The eco was originally slated to be deployed in 2003, but has been rescheduled several times. Its current planned release date is 2027.

What European Countries Use the Franc?

Although the euro has largely replaced the franc in Europe, two European countries still use the franc as their official currency: Switzerland and Liechtenstein. While the franc is undoubtedly preferred, most places in Switzerland and Liechtenstein will still accept euros (though prices may differ). Although most of Europe is quickly transitioning to the standard Euro, neither Switzerland nor Liechtenstein have announced plans to replace the franc with the euro in the future.

Countries that Formerly Used the Franc:

Country/Territory Franc Type Year Replaced Current Currency ISO 4217 Code
Algeria Algerian franc 1964 Algerian dinar DZD
Andorra French franc 2002 euro EUR
Belgium Belgian franc 2002 euro EUR
France French franc 2002 euro EUR
Luxembourg Luxembourgish franc 2002 euro EUR
Madagascar Malagasy franc 2005 Malagasy ariary MGA
Mauritania CFA franc 1973 Mauritanian ouguiya MRU
Monaco French franc & Monégasque franc 2002 euro EUR
Morocco Moroccan franc 1960 Moroccan dirham MAD
Tunisia Tunisian franc 1958 Tunisian dinar TND

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The franc is a unit of currency that was used around the world at one point. There are different variations of the franc, including the Swiss franc and the French franc. Although the franc was widely used, today it has largely been replaced by the Euro in many places in Western Europe. Many former colonies of both Belgium and France continue to use some variation of the franc.

The franc got its name from the Latin inscription francorum rex, which translates to "King of the Franks," alluding to France's historical past. The franc is an easy form of money to use, with one franc divided into 100 centimes.

What Countries Use the Franc Currently?

Today, many Western European countries that once used the franc have since switched to the standardized Euro found throughout most of Europe. Currently, 22 countries and three territories use a unit of currency directly denominated in francs. Of the 22 countries using the franc, 20 are located in Africa, and the three territories are part of the French Republic. Territories currently using the franc include French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Futuna. These territories use the CFP franc, compared to the standard CFA franc that is commonly found throughout Africa.

There are two different versions of the African franc, with 14 countries using the CFA and six African countries using their own version of the franc, which are directly tied to the French franc. The CFA franc was introduced in the African countries in 1945 and has been in circulation ever since. The CFP and the CFA franc can be interchanged with the standard franc used elsewhere.

African countries that still use the franc include Cameroon, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Comoros, Djibouti, Guinea, Rwanda, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

What European Countries Use the Franc?

Although the Euro has largely replaced the franc, two European countries still use the franc. Both Switzerland and Liechtenstein will use the franc as their official currency. While the franc is undoubtedly preferred, most places in Switzerland and Liechtenstein will still take Euros and be happy to conduct business in this widely accepted currency. Although most of Europe is quickly transitioning to the standard Euro, both Switzerland and Liechtenstein do not have any plans to replace the franc with the Euro in the future.

Countries that Use Francs 2023

Note: Titles marked with * are semi-autonomous French territories.

Countries that Use Francs 2023

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