Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast, which is also popularly known as Cote d’Ivoire, is situated in the southern part of West Africa, bordering Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and the Gulf of Ghana. The country is inhabited by a vast population of observant Christians, Islam, and other indigenous religions. Prior to the European settlement, Ivory Coast consists of Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, and Baoule states. In 1843, it became France’s protectorate and has been part of the French colony starting 1893. It gained its independence in 1960 but still has close ties with Western nations, especially France.

Between 1960 and 1970, Ivory Coast was an economic leader in West Africa, with an economy that was mainly dependent on the production of coffee and cocoa. In 2020, the nation was the largest cocoa bean exporter in the world. Recently, its economy has been market-based and still depends on agriculture.

As a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, Ivory Coast was using the West African CFA franc as its currency, like other independent states in West Africa such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Mai, Senegal, Niger, Guinea-Bissau, and Togo. The currency was launched to the French colonies in West Africa in 1945, in lieu of the French West African franc.  

With the introduction of the CFA franc by the Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique Occidentale West African CFA frenc banknotes in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 1000 were put in circulation. In 1946, a 500-franc banknote was added to the series and a 5,0000-franc banknote in 1948.  

In 1955, a new set of banknotes was issued when the Institut d’Emission de l’A.O.F et du Togo became the authorized issuer of paper money. A new family of notes was also issued in 2004 with enhanced security features and modern design. A common design of these banknotes is a stylized bronze weight sawfish on the obverse. This particular figure was used by the Akan and Boule tribes as their medium of exchange for gold powder. The sawfish is known to be the symbol of prosperity and fecundity.

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