Burkina Faso National Currency: West African CFA Franc

The West African CFA franc serves as the Burkina Faso National Currency, a landlocked country located in West Africa. In this article, we will explore the historical background, features, significance, and impact of the West African CFA franc on Burkina Faso’s economy. We will also discuss the challenges faced by the currency, potential reforms, and compare it to other regional currencies in Africa.

Burkina Faso, like several other West African countries, employs the West African CFA franc as its national currency. The West African CFA franc is a shared currency used by the member countries of the West African Monetary Union (WAMU), which comprises eight nations in total. It was initially introduced in 1945 and has played a crucial role in shaping the economic landscape of Burkina Faso.

Historical Background of the Burkina Faso National Currency

The West African CFA franc has a fascinating history. It was first established as a currency by the French colonial authorities in the late 19th century. At that time, the currency was known as the French West African franc and was used in several French colonies, including Burkina Faso.

After gaining independence, many West African countries continued to use the French West African franc. However, in 1945, the currency was renamed the West African CFA franc and a new monetary framework was established. This change marked the beginning of the West African Monetary Union, which aimed to promote economic integration and stability among its member countries.

Key Features and Significance of the Burkina Faso National Currency

The West African CFA franc is pegged to the euro at a fixed exchange rate. This fixed exchange rate is maintained through a monetary cooperation agreement with France, which guarantees the convertibility of the currency. The significance of this fixed exchange rate lies in the stability it brings to Burkina Faso’s economy by reducing exchange rate volatility and facilitating trade within the region.

Moreover, the West African CFA franc is widely accepted across member countries, which enhances economic cooperation and cross-border trade. It also simplifies financial transactions and reduces transaction costs, promoting regional integration and economic development.

Burkina Faso’s Adoption of the West African CFA Franc

Burkina Faso adopted the West African CFA franc as its national currency in 1945 when it was still under French colonial rule. The currency continued to be used after independence, as Burkina Faso recognized the benefits of maintaining a stable and widely accepted currency for its economic growth.

By adopting the West African CFA franc, Burkina Faso became part of the larger West African Monetary Union, allowing for greater monetary stability and cooperation with neighboring countries. This decision played a vital role in shaping the country’s economic policies and fostering regional integration.

Role of the West African CFA Franc in Burkina Faso’s Economy

The West African CFA franc plays a pivotal role in Burkina Faso’s economy. It serves as a medium of exchange for daily transactions, facilitates domestic and international trade, and acts as a store of value. The stability of the currency provides confidence to businesses, investors, and individuals, encouraging economic activities and investments in Burkina Faso.

Additionally, the West African CFA franc is used as a unit of account in financial statements, making it easier for businesses to plan and conduct transactions. It also helps maintain price stability by providing a common reference for pricing goods and services within the country.

Pros and Cons of Using a Shared Currency

Using a shared currency like the West African CFA franc has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the key benefits is the reduction of transaction costs and exchange rate risks associated with conducting business across borders. It also fosters economic integration, harmonizes monetary policies, and facilitates regional trade.

However, the shared currency can also limit the ability of individual countries, like Burkina Faso, to adjust their monetary policies according to their specific economic conditions. It may lead to a loss of control over exchange rates and monetary autonomy, which can pose challenges in managing economic shocks and promoting competitiveness.

Impact of the West African CFA Franc on Burkina Faso’s Development

The West African CFA franc has played a significant role in Burkina Faso’s development. It has provided stability, fostered regional trade, and attracted foreign investments. The currency’s convertibility and acceptance have facilitated international transactions and enhanced Burkina Faso’s integration into the global economy.

However, challenges remain in harnessing the full potential of the West African CFA franc to drive sustainable development in Burkina Faso. Efforts are being made to address these challenges through economic reforms, regional cooperation, and discussions on potential currency reforms.

Comparison with Other Regional Currencies in Africa

The West African CFA franc is not the only shared currency in Africa. There are other regional currencies, such as the Central African CFA franc, the East African shilling, and the Southern African rand. Each currency has its unique features, advantages, and challenges.

Comparisons between these regional currencies highlight the diverse approaches taken by African countries to promote economic integration and monetary stability. Understanding these differences can contribute to the ongoing discussions on currency reforms and regional cooperation in Africa.

Future Outlook and Potential Reforms for the Burkina Faso National Currency

The future outlook for the West African CFA franc is subject to ongoing discussions and potential reforms. Various stakeholders, including policymakers, economists, and citizens, are engaged in debates surrounding the currency’s role, challenges, and potential alternatives.

Reforms may include greater flexibility in the exchange rate regime, increased regional cooperation, and a more inclusive decision-making process. The objective is to create a monetary system that supports the economic aspirations of West African countries while ensuring stability, sustainability, and shared benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Is the West African CFA franc the same as the Central African CFA franc?

No, they are two separate currencies. The West African CFA franc is used by countries in West Africa, while the Central African CFA franc is used by countries in Central Africa.

  • Can I use the West African CFA franc outside Burkina Faso?

The West African CFA franc is primarily used within the member countries of the West African Monetary Union. However, some neighboring countries and territories also accept it as a form of payment.

  • What are the benefits of using a shared currency like the West African CFA franc?

Shared currencies reduce transaction costs, promote regional trade, and provide stability for economic activities. They also simplify financial transactions and facilitate cross-border investments.

  • Are there any plans to change or replace the West African CFA franc?

Discussions on potential currency reforms are ongoing. There are calls for greater flexibility, increased regional integration, and reforms that better reflect the economic needs of West African countries.

  • How does the West African CFA franc affect Burkina Faso’s inflation rate?

The West African CFA franc, through its fixed exchange rate, helps maintain price stability and control inflation. However, factors beyond the currency also influence Burkina Faso’s inflation rate.


The West African CFA franc serves as Burkina Faso’s national currency and plays a crucial role in the country’s economy. It provides stability, facilitates regional trade, and promotes economic integration. While challenges and discussions surround the currency, efforts are being made to strengthen it and explore potential reforms. As Burkina Faso continues its development journey, the West African CFA franc will remain a significant factor in shaping its economic landscape.


  • Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO). (n.d.). Official Website. Retrieved from https://www.bceao.int/
  • West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). (n.d.). Official Website. Retrieved from https://www.uemoa.int/
  • Dibeh, G., & Krah, K. (2020). Prospects for CFA Franc Zone Currency Reform. IMF Working Paper, WP/20/33. Retrieved from https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WP/Issues/2020/02/28/Prospects-for-CFA-Franc-Zone-Currency-Reform-49020

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