Central African CFA franc_flag

Central African CFA franc

The Central African CFA franc, represented by the currency code XAF, is the official currency used in six Central African states that form the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC): Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. The Bank of Central African States (BEAC) issues and manages the Central African CFA franc.

The Central African CFA franc was established in 1945, at the end of the Second World War, when France ratified the Bretton Woods Agreements and proceeded to implement the currency in its African colonies. The CFA stands for "Coopération financière en Afrique centrale" (Financial Cooperation in Central Africa).

Convertible:Yes, but liquidity is extremely poor


Exchange rate regime:Pegged to EUR (historically to the French franc)

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BEAC Monetary Policy


The primary objective of the BEAC's monetary policy is to maintain price stability and ensure the external stability of the Central African CFA franc. The currency is pegged to the Euro at a fixed exchange rate, under an arrangement with the French Treasury.


The BEAC's monetary policy operations include open market operations, standing facilities, and minimum reserve requirements for banks. Through these tools, the BEAC manages liquidity in the banking system and controls inflation.


The Central African CFA franc is subdivided into 100 centimes. Coins are issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 francs, while banknotes come in denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 francs.


XAF banknotes feature images that represent the cultural and economic activities of the region. The design also includes advanced security features to prevent counterfeiting.


The Central African CFA franc is a unique currency due to its fixed exchange rate with the Euro and the monetary cooperation between the CEMAC countries and France. Economists and financial experts often discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this arrangement.


On one hand, the peg to the Euro provides exchange rate stability and low inflation. On the other hand, it may limit the region's ability to respond to economic shocks and competitiveness issues. The ongoing debate about the future of the CFA franc system, including proposals for reforms, is a key point of interest for experts.


The BEAC is responsible for the regulation of the Central African CFA franc. It oversees monetary policy, manages foreign exchange reserves, and ensures the stability of the financial system in the CEMAC region.


The BEAC also implements measures to prevent financial crimes, including robust Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations that financial institutions must comply with.

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Important information

Payments in XAF to Central Africa

Key considerations to bear in mind


Payment instructions should contain the beneficiary's IBAN, name, and address.


Payment Processing Time

The time taken for a payment to reach the recipient's bank account can vary. Domestic transfers among countries within the Central Africa subregion are typically processed quickly, while international transfers may take a few business days. Consider the processing time when planning your payment to ensure timely delivery. The iBanFirst Payment Tracker can help you track those payments, and ensure a smooth and efficient payment experience.


Fees and Charges

Banks and financial institutions may apply fees and charges when processing international payments. These fees can vary, so it is advisable to check with your bank to understand the charges associated with your transaction. Check out iBanFirst’s Savings Calculator to estimate how much you could save on your next international payment.

Keep in mind

Bank holidays

Please note that public holidays can vary significantly between the six countries using the XAF. Additionally, each country observes a variety of national holidays, and religious holidays like Easter and Eid are also widely celebrated. Here are some of the common public holidays observed across the CEMAC region:



New Year's Day



Labour Day



Christmas Day

Independence Day

Dates vary by country


Currency Reference Guide

Get the full currency reference guide, updated by the iBanFirst currency market experts.

iBanFirst S.A. is duly authorised and regulated by the National Bank of Belgium (under CBE number 0849.872.824) as a payment institution. It is a direct member of the SWIFT network and is certified to make payments throughout the SEPA zone. As a payment institution, iBanFirst S.A. only offers hedging solutions (forward, flexible forward and dynamic forward) connected to underlying payment transactions. iBanFirst S.A. does not offer options or any other financial instruments for investment or speculative purposes.