The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The CFA franc zone comprises a group of countries in central and west Africa whose currencies have been firmly linked to the French franc since 1948. It combines the features of a currency union with those of an exchange rate peg, and an analysis of its effectiveness must examine both dimensions. Viewed from the perspective of a currency union among the African countries, it would appear that the zone would not constitute an optimum currency area. But when France is viewed as an integral part of the system, the benefits—including discipline, credibility, and stability in international competitiveness—become clearer.