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It is the common issuing institution of the member States of the West African Monetary Union (WAMU). At the time of its founding on May 12, 1962, its membership comprised the Republics of Côte d’Ivoire, Dahomey, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Senegal, Togo and Upper Volta.
Currently, there are eight (08) member States in the Monetary Union: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. In addition to centralizing the cash reserves of the Union, the main mandates of the Central Bank are: to issue currency, to manage monetary policy, to organize and monitor banking activities and to provide assistance for the WAMU member States.
The BCEAO has the exclusive right to issue currency throughout the member States of the West African Monetary Union. It issues banknotes and coins that are legal tender and redeemable throughout the member States of the Union.
The creation, issuance and cancellation of banknotes and coins are decided by the Council of Ministers. Despite the development of non-cash means of payment, use of banknotes and coins continues to hold a relatively important place in the transactions of economic operators in the Union. The single currency promotes crossborder movements of banknotes between the States. The Central Bank also conducts ongoing research on printing processes relating to currency authentication, with a view to enhancing the security of the banknotes it issues.
Assistance to the member States
Upon request by the Governments of the WAMU member States, the Central Bank assists the latter in their dealings with international financial and monetary institutions and in any negotiations they may undertake with a view to concluding international financial agreements. The Central Bank may be placed in charge of the implementation of such agreements under terms set by the conventions approved by the Board of Directors.
Specifically regarding the relations of the States with the International Monetary Fund, the Central Bank acts as a financial agent in keeping with the provisions of the Convention of September 24, 1981, signed by the Bank and the member States. The issuing institution also assists the States in the areas of design and monitoring of adjustment program implementation and debt management.
The Central Bank particularly assists the Governments in their negotiations for the rescheduling of their foreign debts. It provides support for the design, harmonization and implementation of instruments regulating external financial relations. It also helps the States draw up their balance of payments.
The Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO)
An international public institution with headquarters in Dakar, Senegal