Chad Central African CFA Franc - XAF
Chad is just one of several countries that have adopted the Central African CFA franc. It is important to remember the Central African bit, since there is another version of the CFA franc that is used in the western part of Africa. Unsurprisingly this is known as the West African CFA franc. The two have separate ISO currency codes as well. The one that applies to this version is the ISO code XAF.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
It probably won’t come as a surprise to learn the CFA franc is broken into 100 centimes. It might be a surprise though to realise that the centime isn’t used anymore. Instead you will find a whole range of coins in use – all of which are francs. These are the 1, 2, 5 and 10 franc coins, along with the bigger 25, 50, 100 and even the 500 franc coins.
You’ll be able to use a selection of banknotes for the Central African CFA franc as well. These are the 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 franc notes.
From past to present – the history of the Chad Central African CFA franc
Chad, along with several other countries in this part of the world, has used the Central African CFA franc since the mid-1940s. While it was a brand new currency the people of Chad and neighbouring countries in this part of Africa were already using another version of the franc. This one was known as the French Equatorial African franc. This became defunct when the Central African CFA franc came into being, and this one has been in use in Chad ever since.
How to get hold of the Chad Central African CFA franc
This isn’t the easiest of currencies to get hold of when you try and find it before arriving in Chad. However once you get there it can get a little easier. Chad is very much a cash-based country so expect to need cash and lots of it to get through your time there. The best method for doing this is to take in traveller’s cheques – enough to support you during your stay. Get them denominated in euros since this is the preferred currency and it could mean you get better exchange rates too.
You can take a credit card or two with you, but be prepared for the fact you may not be able to use it. The odd hotel might accept payment with it but you shouldn’t count on it.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Chad Central African CFA franc
All you need to do here, as you might assume, is to find a good quality currency converter to use to give you the figures you need. Most good converters should have this currency on there – just make sure you look for the ISO code XAF and not XOF, although the two versions are pretty much interchangeable with each other anyway. The conversion rate you get won’t include any charges you would have to pay when converting your own currency to the franc, but you’ll get a rough idea of what to expect anyway.
It is always a smart idea to find out the latest situation in any country you are going to visit, particularly in relation to the area you are staying in. This applies just as much to Chad (if not more so) as it does to other countries. The best place for the latest information and advice is the UK government website. They provide updated details on a variety of countries and Chad is included. You can visit the appropriate page here - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/chad.
Travelling safely with the Chad Central African CFA franc
At the time of writing Chad was far from being the safest place in the world to visit. Large swathes of the country are not advisable to go to at all, while travel to other parts is not recommended unless you absolutely have to according to the official UK government website. Needless to say, a holiday there is not essential so it would only apply to those working in the country who have business in certain areas that might require them to attend.
There is a great degree of instability in Chad, which is part of the reason why travel there is not recommended. Even if you were to visit the areas where essential travel only is advised, you should still have a number of precautions in place that are indicated on the UK government website.
As such the last thing you need to worry about is petty crime such as pickpocketing. Indeed, there have been many reports of much more violent crimes taking place here, so you may not want to visit Chad anytime in the near future. We can only hope the situation may eventually calm down and the country as a whole will become more settled.
Where to spend your CFA francs in Chad – and what to spend them on
Chad is in central Africa, which is obvious given the currency it uses. It is commonly referred to as a landlocked country, since it has no borders facing any seas or oceans. However on the western side of the country Lac Tchad (a lake) is the point where four countries meet and share their borders. This is the only body of water that is along any of Chad’s borders. North of Chad you will find Libya, and to the east lie Sudan. South of the country is the Central African Republic, while Cameroon meets Chad in its south-western corner. Nigeria has a small section of border it shares with Chad, but this is exclusively in Lac Tchad. Just past this, and completing the series of countries Chad borders, is Niger.
The capital of Chad is N’Djamena. This is close to the border with Cameroon. Obviously the places we will reveal to you in this part of our report are very likely to be unsafe to visit at present. However it is still interesting to relate the different parts of the country and what you could see if you did ever get the chance to visit. The city has its own cathedral but perhaps the best attraction besides this is the Chad National Museum. This has much to share regarding the history of Chad, which stretches back way beyond the present time and into prehistory. Sadly a number of the artefacts held here have disappeared owing to the events taking place in the country. It is hoped that one day they may be re-discovered and returned to their rightful place so everyone can see them.
Chad has its fair share of natural sights as well, not least of which are the Tibesti Mountains. Most of the range does lie within the northern part of Chad, but there is a small section that juts just into Libya. The main peak here is called Emi Koussi and it has an impressive elevation reaching nearly 3,500 metres in height. This is actually not just a mountain but a shield volcano, one of several in the range.
There are many national parks dotted all over Africa, and Chad has its own share of these. One notable example is the Zakouma National Park, which you’ll find in the southern part of the country. This was once home to a massive collection of thousands of elephants, but sadly today they number in the low hundreds. Unfortunately poaching has been a major issue here that is proving difficult to overcome.
We should also make mention once again of Lac Tchad, which you may realise translates into Lake Chad. This wetland has increased and decreased in size over the years, the latter of which can be a concern since millions of people have this as their main water supply. This applies not just to the people of Chad, but those in the other countries that jut into the lake too. Many mammals and other creatures have their homes here, from crocodile to ducks and through to assorted varieties of fish.
Chad is clearly a country in constant flux. It may well be a dangerous place to visit at the present time but we must surely hope the situation there will improve. It has a number of stunning national parks but even here there are issues with poaching, as we have mentioned above. Many hope more stringent measures will be put in place to protect the animals and wildlife in the country from dying out completely as a result of practices such as these.
For now however it is best to take the official government advice to stay well clear of the country until the situation changes. Since no tourist will have essential business in the country it is best to observe from afar and perhaps hope that one day a visit to some of these areas will prove to be a possibility. Until then all we can do is read about Chad.