French West Africa

The French West Africa was a federation of eight French territories in West Africa. It existed from 1895 until 1958. It included Senegal, French Guinea, Ivory Coast, French Sudan (now Mali), Dahomey (now Benin), Niger, Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), and Mauritania. The territories became independent republics in 1960, with French Sudan changing its name to Mali. 

French West Africa was governed by a highly centralized colonial administration. All local matters required the approval of the governor-general in Dakar. Africans were limited to lower ranks of government and chiefs held considerable power, but had to prove their loyalty to maintain their positions. Each colony had similar political and economic structures. The colonies focused on agriculture and cash crops like peanuts, coffee, cocoa, and bananas, which limited the development of other economic activities.  

French West Africa used the French franc as its currency. The Banque de l'Afrique Occidentale issued banknotes in French West Africa from 1903. Different denominations, including 100 francs, 5 francs, 500 francs, 25 francs, 1000 francs, and 50 francs, were introduced over the years. In 1943, 10 franc notes were introduced, and in 1944, the government issued notes for 50 centimes, 1 franc, and 2 francs. The French franc and banknotes continued to circulate until the CFA franc replaced them in 1945. However, the banknotes of the Banque de l'Afrique Occidentale remained in circulation even after the introduction of the CFA franc.

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