Central Africa consists of independent states that are also members of the Economic Community of Central African States. These countries include Angola, Burundi, Chad, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Rwanda, and Sao Tome and Principe.
Chad, Cameroon, Gabon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, and Equatorial Guinea are also part of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central America. These states use the Central African CFA (Cooperation Financiere en Afrique centrale or Financial Cooperation in Central Africa) franc as their monetary unit, which was introduced in 1945 to the French territories as a replacement of the French Equatorial African franc.
The Bank of the Central African States or the Banque Central des Etats de l’Afrique Centrale (BEAC) took over the production of the CFA franc banknotes in 1972- 1973. The bank headquarters was initially located in Paris but was moved to Yaounde, Cameroon in 1977. As a member of the franc zone, currency issued by the BEAC was linked to the French franc and the country names on the obverse of the notes were in French.
A set of notes was released between 1974 and 1984, bearing a common design on the reverse for all countries but with various design elements on the front. In 1983, the bank introduced another family of notes with common obverse design except for some 1000 franc paper bills. These notes were signed by the appointed LE GOUVERNEUR and UN CENSEUR
All banknotes issued by the BEAC were originally printed by the Bank of France until 1978, when F.C. Oberthur in France started printing the 500 and 1000 franc banknotes as well. Notes produced by the Bank of France can easily be distinguished as they are undated and engraved while that of F.C. Oberthur were dated and lithographed.
In 1993, the states were assigned with codes visible on the upper right and near the watermark area on the front of the note. The code helps the public identify the banknote’s issuing country.