Weakest African currencies compared to the US Dollars

Estimated read time 6 min read

In this write-up, we are going to be looking at the top 10 weakest currencies in Africa in comparison to the dollars. A country’s currency speaks volumes about the general well-being of its people and its economy at large. Most people usually pay attention to the strongest currencies that exist and barely ever bother to know the weak ones.

However, is it essential to have an idea about this information especially if you are considering moving to one of these African countries to improve your economic well fortune. Having a knowledge of the lowest or least currencies in Africa is also very important if you have investment decisions to make. Or only as a way of broadening your knowledge of the African economy and countries economically.

We are going to know the cheapest currencies in Africa and the exchange rate using US dollars. The focus is on the cost or how much of a local African currency can be used to get a dollar. We are pitching it against the US dollar since it is generally believed to be a global currency.

Factors that determine the weakness of a currency

The value of currencies is determined and influenced by several factors such as:

  • GDP
  • decreasing falling prices of commodities, I.e,  inflation
  • political instability
  • Current Account Balance
  • Economic Policies

Weak African currencies compared to the Dollars

Here are brief summary of the weakest or cheapest currencies in Africa that the Nigerian Naira stronger than.

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 10. Malawian Kwacha (MK, MWK)

     1 US Dollar = 1039 Malawian Kwacha

The Malawian Kwacha is one of the weakest African currencies. The Malawian Kwacha is divided into 100 tambalas. It is the official currency of Malawi with an exchange rate of $1 equal to 833 Malawian Kwacha in May 2022.

In 1971, the kwacha was introduced into Malawi. It replaces all other types of currency formerly used the Malawians. The currencies formerly used in the country were the UK pound sterling, the South African rand and the Rhodesian dollar.

9. Rwanda Franc (FRw, RF, Rf)

1 US Dollar = 1087 Rwanda Franc

Another weak African currency is the Rwanda Franc. The Rwanda Franc is subdivided into centimes. This is equivalent to the cents in dollars. The currency was introduced in Rwanda in 1964. Prior to its introduction, the country had used the Belgian Congo Franc and German East African rupee. Germany and Belgium were the former colonial masters of Rwanda.

The 1994 genocide destroyed Rwanda’s fragile economy. It diminished the population, particularly women and eroded the country’s ability to attract private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made significant progress in the stability and rehabilitation of its economy.

 8. Congolese Franc (CF)

   1 US Dollar = 2083 Congolese Franc

The Congolese Franc is subdivided into 100 centimes. One US dollar equaled over 2000 Congolese Fran in February, 2023.

The cheap value of the Congolese franc is due to the decline in the economy of the Congo since the1980s. At the time of its independence in 1960, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was the second most industrialised country in Africa just after South Africa.

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Since the 1980s, corruption, war and political instability have had a severe impact on the economy of the country. They have lived with a GDP, Per Capital and HDI rating that runs among the least developed countries in the world.

 7. Burundian Franc (FBu)

  1 US Dollars = 2325 Burundian Franc

Another cheapest currency in Africa is the Burundian Franc. The Burundian Franc is further divided into 100 centimes. The coin version of the Burundian currency has never been issued the country’s apex bank since it start using its own currency.

Although her former currency, the Belgian Congo Franc issued coins.  Burundi started using the Burundian Franc in 1964. Since its introduction in 1964, the Burundian franc has experienced a steady decline.

There was a plan the East African country with other countries to introduce a common currency but it has not come into reality.

6. Tanzania shilling (TSh)

   1 US Dollar = 2327 Tanzania shilling

The shilling is the currency of Tanzania. It is Subdivided into 100 senti. That is cent in English. The East African shilling was her official currency until it was replaced the Tanzania shilling on 14th, June 1966.

In recent years, Tanzania was able to keep its currency away from dropping further down against the dollar. For the past two years, they have been able to maintain it in the region of 2200-2300 Tanzania shilling to a dollar.

5. Malagasy Ariary (Ar)

 1 US Dollars = 4347 Malagasy Ariary

Another weak currency in Africa is Malagasy Ariary. Malagasy Ariary is the currency of Madagascar. It is divided into 5 iraimbilanja. Both the ariary and iraimbilanja has their names rooted to pre-colonial currency. However, the iraimbijanja has fallen into disuse due to its loss of value.

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The Ariary was never the official currency of the Madagascar following its introduction. The Ariary was introduced in1961. It was equivalent to 5 Malagasy francs following as at then. On the 1st of January, 2005 the currency replaced the franc as its official currency.

4. Uganda Shilling (USh)

   1 US Dollar = 3704 Uganda Shilling

Shilling is the currency used the people in Uganda. The currency replaced the East African shilling in 1966. A new shilling was later introduced to cushion the effect of the poor value of the USh. This was the UGX.  It was worth 100 of the old shilling.

Although, the shilling is the official currency of the country they also make use of US dollars and pound sterling for transactions.

3. Guinean franc (FG, Fr, GFr)

   1 US Dollar = 8333 Guinean franc

One dollar equals 8333 Guinean Fran as of February 2023. The currency, the Guinean franc is subdivided into 100 centimes. The first Guinean franc was introduced in 1959.

In 1985, a second Guinean franc was reintroduced as Guineas’ currency. It was at par with a second with initially introduced syli in 1971. The syli was pecked at 1 syli to 10 francs.

2. Sierra Leon Leone (Le)

 1 US Dollars = 19602 Sierra Leon Leone

The Leone is divided into 100 cents. The cents are no longer in use owing to their poor value. It was originally introduced in 1964. It replaced the West African pound.

Since its introduction in 1964, it has had more value than the dollar. 1 leone equals 1.4 dollars. It was in the 1980s the currency experienced a sharp decline.

1. Sao Tome and Principe Dobra (STD)

 1 US Dollars = 22823.99 Sierra Leon Leone

The Sao Tome and Principe Dobra is the weakest currency in Africa in 2022. One STD is made up of 100 centimos The currency was introduced in 1977.

It replaced the escudo. The escudo was a version of the Portuguese own currency. At the time of its introduction, it has the same value as the Portuguese currency

Dobra is the Weakest African currencies compared to the US Dollars

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