The Communauté Financière Africaine or CFA franc (CAF) was introduced in 1945 to the French colonies in Equatorial Africa and replaced the French Equatorial African franc. After gaining independence, the colonies remained using the currency. When the CFA franc was introduced, notes issued by the Central Cashier of Overseas France were in circulation. A new series of notes was introduced in 1947 for French Equatorial Africa, although the notes didn't have the colonies' name. The Institut d'Émission de l'Afrique Équatoriale Française et du Cameroun took over paper money production in 1957, issuing all previous denominations except for the 5000-franc bill.
In 1961, the Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique Équatoriale et du Cameroun took over banknote production. The bank changed its name to Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique Équatoriale in 1963. In 1968, 10,000-franc notes were introduced. In 1975, the bank name changed again, and the individual states began issuing notes in their names. This practice ended in 1993. Since then, the banknotes have been issued with only a letter noticeably displayed to identify the issues of the different states. Also, in 1975, Central African CFA banknotes were issued with an obverse distinctive to each participating country and common reverse similar to euro coins.
The Central African CFA Franc (XAF) banknotes circulation is in denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 francs. Coins are circulated in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 francs. The Bank of Central African States issues and manages the currency. The current exchange rate is 1 EUR = 655.5 XAF.
The XAF has its origins in the African colonial empire of France. Much of the West and Central Africa was ruled over by France from the middle of the nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth century. In 1910, the government of France established French Equatorial Africa, which was a federation of French colonial territories in Equatorial Africa, stretching northwards from the Congo River into the Sahel. The French Equatorial African colonies used the French Equatorial franc as their official currency. This money was in circulation from 1917 until 1945 when it was replaced by the Central African franc. As the countries in this region gained their independence from France, they retained the Central African franc as their currency.