The CFA franc (in local parlance, franc CFA, following the French order of the terms, or just franc), is a currency used in fourteen formerly French-ruled African countries. The name originally stood for Franc des Colonies Françaises d'Afrique (Franc of the French Colonies of Africa).
On January 12, 1994 the CFA franc was devalued to .01 French franc, so that since the creation of the new European currency on January 1, 1999 it has been worth .00152449 euro. One euro is therefore equivalent to 655.957 CFA francs.
The term CFA has been through several meanings: originally denoting Colonies françaises d'Afrique (French colonies of Africa), in 1958 it changed to Communauté française d'Afrique (French Community of Africa), and it now is Communaute Financiere Africaine (African Financial Community), representing the financial co-operation arrangements of the countries which use the currency.
The value of the CFA franc has been widely criticized as being too high, which many economists believe favors the urban elite of the African countries which can buy manufactured goods cheaply at the expense of the farmers who cannot easily export agricultural products.
There are two versions, with the same fixed value, guaranteed by France: