Togo, also known as the Togolese Republic, is a West African nation on the Gulf of Guinea. Togo is one of the smallest countries in Africa, covering only 22,008 square miles. The capital, Lomé, is located in the southern part of the country. The country's economy relies mainly on agriculture. The currency of Togo has evolved over time from the colonial times to date. The present currency of Togo is the West African CFA franc.
Germany was the colonial figure in Togo for a period of time. This fact explains why Togo used the German mark for 30 years from 1884. The year 1914 marked the change in colonial powers to British and French authorities, paving the way for the division of Togo into two Mandate territories, whereby the British side started using the British West African pound while the French side took up the French franc. The French franc was later supplemented by coins that were issued to represent the command territory of Togo, which were used sporadically until 1956. In 1945, the Financial Community of Africa (CFA) franc, was introduced to replace the French West African franc. The franc has been subdivided into cents, but none have been used so far. The CFA franc was the official currency in more than five West African countries with some of these countries still using francs while others, like Mali (French Sudan), stopped its use.
In 1948 aluminum 1- and 2-franc coins were released, followed by an aluminum/bronze franc coins in 1957 that had the addition of the Togo name. It is essential to note that the body in charge of releasing currency in Togo was the BCEAO Central Bank of the West African States as of 1959. In 1967 nickel 100-franc coins were issued, followed by the release of cupro-nickel 50-franc coins in 1972. The first steel 1-franc coins were released in 1976 to replace the aluminum ones, which were used until 1995. In 1992 the 250-franc was introduced, to be followed by the 200- and 500-franc coins in 2003.
At the introduction of the West African CFA franc, notes in use were in values of 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 100-, and 1,000-francs. The 500-franc notes were announced in 1946, followed by notes valued at 5,000-francs two years later. The Institut d'Emission de l'A.O.F. et du Togo took up the authority to produce paper money in 1955 issuing notes of 50-, 100-, 500-, and 1,000-francs.
The year 1959 marked the BCEAO retaking up the production of paper money by reinstating the 5,000-franc note. With this issue, BCEAO started specifying with a letter to show the issuing country. The 50-franc notes were last issued in the year 1959, while issuance of the 100-franc was stopped in 1965. In 1972 the 10,000-franc notes were introduced, while the 2,500-franc notes were introduced in 1992.
In 2004, new banknotes were released as follows: 1,000-, 2,000-, 5,000- and 10,000-francs. The 500-franc coin was substituted in 2003 by notes. The 5,000-franc note was changed in color from blue to green. The new notes had security features and a modern day look. More changes were done, including the issue of a 500-franc banknote in November of 2012. The changes were well received as it was a common feeling that the old notes were dirty and full of diseases.
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