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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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Old 13 Nov 2011
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Money question for Central West Africa

Specifically Benin,Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Rep of Congo, DRC and Angola.

Which currency is best to take (USD, EUR, GBP)? Also are there problems (or poorer rates) when changing small denominations?

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Old 13 Nov 2011
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I'm sure you already know that a bank card, visa will allow you to access the local currency at ATMs in major centers. The CFA makes it pretty easy as it is used in a few countries which minimizes the need to continually change at every border. The west african franc is used in Benin and Togo and central african franc in Cameroon, Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville.

CFA franc - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For your backup source of cash to have on hand when in between major centers, I used USD but felt that the further north you got, they had a preference for Euros. For example, I was able to exchange USD in Brazzaville, but there were more banks that exchanged Euros. In Angola, USD worked well (side note: whereas now there are a couple of banks that will allow you to access your bank funds through an ATM, historically you needed a visa card to get any funds when in the country. This is still true when outside of Luanda). I'd certainly go with Euros or USD over GBP.
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Old 14 Nov 2011
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Generally speaking, countries using the CFA prefer Euros: the change rate is fixed, so you generally don't get ripped off (or at least you know when you do ;-). Other countries frown upon anything else than greenbacks (even more so in DRC where the dollar is broadly used instead of the local currency).

I've often seen bad rates for denominations lower than 50$, and very few shops where the dollar is accepted (except for dollarized countries of course) so it makes little sense to take low denominations, IMO.
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Old 14 Nov 2011
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I agree with the two above (Euro in the north, dollar in Congo and south).

However when we travelled down the west coast last year (same countries you list bar Togo) I never needed to use any foreign cash. ATMs that took Visa were common enough and you could always change local cash (eg CFA to Naira) at or near the border.
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