Central Bank of West African States

The Central Bank of West African States (French: Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest, BCEAO) is a central bank serving the eight west African countries which share the common West African CFA franc currency and comprise the West African Economic and Monetary Union.

Central Bank of West African States
Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (BCEAO) (in French)
HeadquartersDakar, Senegal
GovernorJean-Claude Brou
Central bank ofWest African Economic and Monetary Union
CurrencyWest African CFA franc
XOF (ISO 4217)
Reserves9 820 million USD[1]
Preceded byBanque de l'Afrique Occidentale (1901-1955)
Institut d'Émission de l'Afrique Occidentale Française et du Togo (1955-1959)
BCEAO is the central bank of the states in green

The BCEAO is active in developing financial inclusion policy and is a member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.[2]


Building at 29, rue du Colisée in Paris, head office of BCEAO from the early 1960s to relocation to Dakar in 1978

In 1955, the French government transferred the note-issuance privilege for its West African colonies, hitherto held by the Banque de l'Afrique Occidentale, to a newly created entity based in Paris,[3] the Institut d’Emission de l’Afrique Occidentale Française et du Togo (lit.'Note-Issuing Institute of French West Africa and Togo'). In 1959, the institution's name was changed to BCEAO.[4][5][6]

The treaty establishing the West African Monetary Union (French: Union Monétaire Ouest-Africaine, UMOA) was signed on 12 May 1962 and gave BCEAO the exclusive right to issue currency as the common central bank for the, then, seven member countries:[5][7][8] Ivory Coast, Dahomey (later renamed Benin), Haute-Volta (later renamed Burkina Faso), Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal. The statutes of the bank were subsequently approved in November 1962 and remained essentially unchanged until 1974, providing for dominant French influence over the BCEAO's governance.[3]

On June 30, 1962, Mali left the group and adopted the Malian franc as national currency. On December 17, 1963, Togo officially joined the UMOA. On May 30, 1973, Mauritania withdrew and adopted the ouguiya as national currency. On February 17, 1984, Mali re-joined the UMOA.[5] Guinea-Bissau joined the group in 1997.

In 1975, the BCEAO was led for the first time by an African Governor, Ivorian Abdoulaye Fadiga. It remained headquartered in Paris until mid-1978, when its head office was relocated to Dakar. The Dakar headquarters was formally inaugurated on 26 May 1979.[9]

The BCEAO's statutes were amended in 2010 to grant it greater independence from member states.[10]: 6 

Banking Commission


In 1989, BCEAO Governor Alassane Ouattara promoted the creation of a single banking supervisory authority for the entire West African Monetary Union. The Banking Commission of the West African Monetary Union was subsequently established by an international convention signed in Ouagadougou on 24 April 1990[11]



In 2012, the West African Monetary Union's Council of Ministers authorized the BCEAO to create a regional agency to support the issuance and management of their public securities (French: titres). The agency was formally created on 15 March 2013 under the name UMOA-Titres. Since then, UMOA-Titres has coordinated most of the member states' government debt issuance.[12]

Member states




The BCEAO has a main branch, known as agency, in the largest city of each of the member states, whose building typically dominates the local skyline.[13] In Dakar, the BCEAO's headquarters is in a high-rise building separate from the agency for Senegal. In addition, the BCEAO has branches in Parakou (Benin), Bobo-Dioulasso (Burkina Faso), Abengourou, Bouaké, Daloa, Korhogo, Man and San-Pédro (Côte d'Ivoire), Mopti and Sikasso (Mali), Maradi and Zinder (Niger), Kaolack and Ziguinchor (Senegal), and Kara (Togo).[14] In Paris, the BCEAO maintains a representative office in its former headquarters building at 29, rue du Colisée.



Robert Julienne, a French national, was chief executive (French: directeur général) of the Institut d’émission, then of the BCEAO from 1955 to 1974,[9] after which the bank's head held the title of Governor.

See also



  1. ^ Weidner, Jan (2017). "The Organisation and Structure of Central Banks" (PDF). Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek.
  2. ^ "AFI members". AFI Global. 2011-10-10. Archived from the original on 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  3. ^ a b Rattan J. Bhatia (1985), "Chapter II: The Central Bank of West African States, 1962–74: Its Structure and Functions", The West African Monetary Union An Analytical Review, Washington DC: International Monetary Fund
  4. ^ Mensah, A. (July 1979). "The Process of Monetary Decolonization in Africa" (PDF). Utafiti: Journal of the Faculty of Arts and Social Science, University of Dar Es Salaam. 4 (1): 48–49. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "Dates clés" (in French). Central Bank of West African States. Archived from the original on 2012-07-18. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
  6. ^ "West African States CFA Franc Banknotes: First series of CFA banknotes issued by BCEAO 1959". Retrieved July 21, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Traité de l'Union Monétaire Ouest-Africaine" (in French). IZF. Archived from the original on February 22, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2012. (Article 15)
  8. ^ "Cadre Institutionnel" (in French). BCEAO. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h "Chronologie des évènements marquants de l'histoire de la BCEAO et de l'UMOA" (PDF). www.bceao.int. BCEAO.
  10. ^ Sylviane Guillaumont Jeanneney & Patrick Guillaumont (May 2017), "Quel avenir pour les francs CFA ?" (PDF), Ferdi Document de travail (P188)
  11. ^ "Film institutionnel sur l'histoire de la commission bancaire de l'UMOA". Abidjan.netTV. 2015.
  12. ^ "About Us". UMOA-Titres.
  13. ^ René Boer (10 January 2014). "Two Banks Shaping the African Skyline". FA Failed Architecture.
  14. ^ "Presentation of BCEAO". bceao.int.
  15. ^ "Abdoulaye Fadiga". bceao.int.
  16. ^ a b "Jean-Claude Kassi Brou Named Governor of Central Bank of West African States - SWFI". www.swfinstitute.org.