African currencies have become a raging topic lately as regions in the continent are gearing towards using a single currency to foster economic unity as well as improve the value of goods and services.
The 15-member state West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, has resolved to use the ECO currency by 2020 after meeting all six convergence criteria set aside to achieve the historic goal.
The criteria, set aside to ensure countries with stronger economies and currencies are treated fairly, include achieving single-digit inflation of 5% or less by each country, a fiscal deficit of no more than 4% of the GDP, a central bank deficit-financing of no more than 10% of the previous year’s tax revenues among others.
The ECO is expected to boost cross border trade in West Africa if it is successfully implemented. Meanwhile, other regions are also in talks to adopt single currencies like the East African Community which is planning an economic upheaval as a united force.
While these countries are making strides, many others are struggling to maintain the value of their local currencies which can be achieved if they lower inflation, high cost of living and improve on the stock exchange market.
Here are Africa’s weakest currencies measured against the U.S. Dollar which is the most common currency used globally for transactions.
Sao Tome and Principe Dobra (Db)
Sao Tome and Principe’s Dobra is the weakest currency in Africa when measured against the dollar. A dollar is 21,561 Db.
Guinean Franc (GNF)
The Guinean Franc is the second weakest currency in Africa with an exchange rate of a dollar to 9,127.35 GNF.
Sierra Leonean Leone (SLL)
The Sierra Leonean Leone would benefit greatly from the West African ECO if it is implemented as planned but the poor country would have to meet the criteria set aside to be able to benefit from the single currency. A dollar is valued at 9,100 SLL.
Ugandan Shilling (UGX)
The Ugandan Shilling has had its shortfalls and is failing to grow out of its woes. A dollar is valued at 3,691.15 UGX.
Malagasy Ariary (MGA)
Madagascar’s Ariary has struggled since its introduction in 1961 to stay afloat in the exchange market. It is valued at 3,655.10 MGA to a dollar.
Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)
The Tanzanian Shilling, also known as Shillingi, is struggling to move out of the weak currency zone but fails due to slow economic growth. A dollar is valued at 2,300 TZS.
Burundian Franc (BIF)
The Burundian Franc is one of the weakest currencies in Africa and it is valued at 1,839 BIF to a dollar.