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.
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
|Burkina Faso CFA||238.75||.004|
|Central African republic CFA||238.75||.004|
|Cote d’Ivoire CFA||238.75||.004|
|Equatorial Guinea CFA||238.75||.004|
|Sao Tome and Principe||239.58||.0042|