What is the Currency of Mali?

By John Misachi on August 1 2017 in Economics

West African CFA franc banknotes.

Mali is one of the largest countries in Africa, covering a total area of more than 480,000 square miles. Since 1988, the country has undergone several economic reforms that began with the signing of an agreement with the World Bank and IMF. The economic adjustment program implemented by the Malian government between 1992 and 1995 resulted in economic growth and eliminated financial imbalances in the country. Despite the ongoing economic reforms and programs, Mali remains one of the poorest countries in the world with the average worker earning a wage amounting to approximately $1,500 annually. The financial affairs of Mali are handled by the Central Bank of West African States.

Malian Currency

The currency of Mali is the West African CFA franc, which is denoted by the symbol CFAF, and has an ISO code of XOF. The West African CFA franc broken into 100 subdivisions known as centimes. Mali previously had an independent currency known as Malian franc, that was in use between 1962 and 1984, before readopting the CFA franc as the official currency. Although the CFA franc is subdivided into 100 centimes, the subdivisions are not in circulation in the country.

History of the Currency of Mali

The West African CFA franc was used as Mali's currency until 1962 when it was replaced by the Malian franc. The Malian franc was at par with the CFA franc and it was also subdivided into 100 centimes, though the subdivisions were not issued. However, in 1967 the Malian franc significantly declined in value relative to CFA franc, with Mali suffering a trade deficit lasting until the 1970s. Mali readopted the CFA franc at an exchange rate of 2 Malian francs to 1 CFA franc in 1984.

The CFA Franc

The Communaute Financiere Africaine (CFA) franc is currently the official currency of Mali. CFA franc is a name given to the two currencies issued in West and Central Africa. The two currencies assume permanent parity and are effectively interchangeable. The CFA franc coins and notes are issued in Mali by the Central Bank of West Africa. The currency is issued in 14 West and Central African states. The CFA franc was developed in 1945 as a result of the weakness of the French franc after the World War II. The CFA franc was created in French colonies to cushion the colonies from the strong devaluation of the French franc and thereby enhance export to France.

Banknotes and Coins

In 1961, aluminum coins dated 1961 were issued in different denominations including 5, 10, and 25 francs. The second series of coins made of aluminum and bronze were issued between 1975 and 1977 in additional denominations of 50 and 100 francs. In 1962, banknotes in the denomination of 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 5000 francs were issued by the Bank of the Republic of Mali. A second series of banknotes were issued in 1967 in the same denominations as the notes issued in 1962. In 1971, the Central Bank of Mali began issuing notes, producing the third series of banknotes in denominations ranging from 100 to 10,000 francs.

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