Congo, Republic of The; - Money

The Republic of the Congo is part of the Central African Monetary and Economic Union (Communauté Economiquareue et Monetaire de l'Afrique Centrale, or CEMAC), a group of 5 francophone countries that use the same currency, the CFA franc. The CFA franc is tied to the French franc and can be readily exchanged at 50 CFA francs to 1 French franc. Congo, like all members of the CFA franc communities, has benefitted from this stable currency.

As a member of the CFA zone, Congo was profoundly affected by the 50 percent devaluation of the CFA in 1994. The currency had been overvalued prior to the devaluation, making it difficult for the country to export its goods. The devaluation has made its traditional exports more competitive on world markets. In the short term, however, devaluation lowered living standards and probably increased poverty by raising prices while most salaries remained static.

CEMAC planned to open a regional stock exchange in Libreville, Gabon, in 2001, despite the existence of a limited stock exchange in Douala.

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