How Much Was the Afro Worth in 1997?

The Afro was worth $5.84 in 1997
Cover of the African Business Handbook by Michael Sudarkasa

In 1997 I attended a course at Prince Georges County Community College on Trade and Development in Africa. The purpose of the course was to prepare us to begin engaging in export and import with Africa. “The African Business Handbook” by Michael Sudarkasa is the textbook used in the course.

During one session, class discussion involved the economic picture in Africa. Preparation for class required us to read a part of the book on the “Treaty Establishing an African Economic Community.” It explains how, during 1991, a meeting was held by the members of the Organization of African Unity at Abuja, Nigeria. the origin of the Afro and plans for its implementation.

Partly in response to the establishment of the European Common Market and partly to grow trans-continental African trade, the treaty mainly seeks to formally establish an economic and political union continent-wide. All of which was to be in place by 2025.

Cover of Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community.

Sudarkasa’s book has seven sections. The last one gives a profile on each African country. Included in the country profile is the name of the currency used and the exchange rate for one dollar (how much of a given currency buys a dollar.)

Immediately upon reading about the Abuja Treaty and the Afro I perceived something was missing from the last section. It seemed natural to know how much of a dollar one of each African currency can buy. Sum them up and that is how much one Afro is worth compared to the dollar.

Even now it seems so natural to do the simple calculation to fill that knowledge gap. Divide each African currency by one, which represents the dollar. The result is how much of a dollar that currency can buy.

Was it natural or some supernatural guidance that came next? Who knows? Sum the amount of a dollar each African currency could buy. That is the value of one Afro, the currency of the African Union or the United States of Africa.

Below is a list of the African currencies and their exchange rates for buying a dollar as listed in The African Business Handbook. The result of the computation for selling the same currency is to the right of the buying rate.

The value of one Afro in 1997 was 5.84

CountrySellingBuying $
Algeria 20.51 .049
Angola 550 .002
Benin CFA238.75.004
Burkina Faso CFA238.75.004
Cameroon CFA238.75.004
Cape Verde62.52.16
Central African republic CFA238.75.004
Chad CFA 238.75.004
Comoros CFA238.75.004
Congo CFA238.75 .004
Cote d’Ivoire CFA238.75 .004
Djibouti 177.72 .006
Egypt 3.34 .30
Equatorial Guinea CFA 238.75.004
Ethiopia 5 .2
Gabon CFA 238.75 .004
Ghana 485.29.002
Guinea 811.00123
Guinea bissau 44910.0002
Kenya 33.84.030
Liberia 1 11
Libya 3.85.26
Malawi 3.93.26
Mali CFA 238.75 .004
Niger CFA 238.75 .004
Sao Tome and Principe239.58.0042
Senegal CFA 238.75 .004
Sierra Leone493.38.0021
South Africa2.84.3521
Togo CFA 238.75.004
Zaire CFA 238.75.004

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