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Local currency and the Euro

August 4, 2008

Question from Guillaume:

I read in an article that I could use Euros in Senegal? Does that mean I should not bother converting money to CFA before coming over?

Answer by Alex (Dakar expat):

Hi Guillaume – I don’t know your source, but if it is anything like this 2002 BBC News article that comes high up on Google, it is pretty misleading. The Euro has never been widely used in Senegal, and unless you are in particularly touristy or high-end places, no one will accept it. It is however pretty easy to get your Euros converted to local money, as there is a fair amount of street merchants who offer that, but I strongly advise you go to proper banks or change bureaus. That is particularly important when you are converting your CFAs back into Euros, because of the risk of being given fake Euro bills.

However, you cannot convert your Euros before coming to Senegal, because CFAs are not exchanged outside of the CFA zone. You will therefore not find them anywhere in Europe. If you have people you know picking you up at the airport, the easiest is to convert your money in a place next to where you will be staying. If you are on your own and need to take a taxi, then you can go the airport ATM (just ask the security people for directions), which is close to the exit area, but can be stressful (although it is safe), especially with all the luggage, because the airport is the most stressful place in Senegal. You can also go to the airport change bureau, but it will be closed if you arrive on a late flight. Finally, if you are going to one of the major hotels, that has a shuttle, such as Meridien, Sofitel, Club Med or Novotel, the best is to take the shuttle and convert your Euros when you get there.

Finally, fyi, the Euro is the standard for the CFA, i.e., the exchange rate never varies. The CFA used to be based on the French Franc, at 1 FF = 100 CFA. Now it is 1 Euro = 655.957 CFA.

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3 Comments
  1. Guillaume permalink

    Thanks Alex !

  2. Tre22 permalink

    Yeah, i mean, place where they take euros are basically places you want to avoid (unless you’re on a business trip)because super touristy and/or expensive

  3. carol permalink

    Thanks Alex I id not know CFA pegged to euro, very helpful!
    Could you tell me price range in euros of a two to four bedroom house in nice safe residential quiet neighborhood, prefer view of sea… just a range would help so I know. I assume it is cheaper then UK france or us but howmuch cheaper if so?

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