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African Currency: BCEAO Issues New 500 CFA Bill

The Banque Centrale des États de L'Afrique de L'Ouest introduces a new 500 CFA bill


Put into circulation 30 November 2012, few people have yet to touch a crisp new 500 Franc CFA bill.  The new paper denomination will augment the two-toned 500cfa coin already in circulation, metal being more expensive to produce than paper.  The currency (XOF) is issued by the Banque Centrale des États de L'Afrique de L'Ouest (BCEAO) and is colloquially known as the "Franc CFA."  CFA (pronounced Séi-Fah) is used throughout Francophone West Africa in the eight countries of the Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA): Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinée-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. Pegged to the Euro at a rate of 655 XOF to 1 EUR, 500cfa is roughly equivalent to 1 USD.

In Dakar, where the issuing BCEAO is headquartered, 500 cfa means a short taxi ride, cups of café touba for your whole 10-person crew, a pair of flip-flops, a tip for a friendly bartender, a plate of thiére. "Témeer," the more diminutive Wolof appellation, is a unit perpetually in exchange for little things. Although true that the 500cfa coin fits quite nicely into the fifth pocket of jeans, the paper version continues an awesome tradition of illustrating 21st century economic visions with still lives of technology and wildlife.

The 10,000 cfa bill has pictures of satellites, satellite dishes, and an "@" sign on one side and yellow-beaked turaco birds on other. 5000 cfa boasts agro tech and antelopes, 2000 cfa has air transit and fish, 1000 cfa showcases pharmaceuticals and camels, and now the 500 cfa: Hippos and ipads!  "The tablet touch screen symbolizes information technology and communication," says Cheick Ahmed Tidiany Diakité, BCEAO Director of Fiduciary Activities.  No sign as to whether the paper bill will make the perennial hassle of getting change back any easier.

For other choice examples of the BCEAO aesthetic, check out these two modernist gems:

BCEAO HQ, Dakar. An ominous tower of babel like structure, best viewed in Djibril Diop Mambety's first film Contras City. Photo Credit: GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images.

BCEAO, Senegalese National Branch, Dakar. A pyramid or bird spreading its wings depending on who you ask, the building marks the border of Centenaire - aka Dakar Chinatown - and was one of the city's first buildings built with Chinese labor.

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"Kata" single cover.

Listen to Tekno's New Single 'Kata'

The Nigerian artist and producer returns with a melodic banger just in time for the weekend.

Nigerian artist Tekno is back with his second single of the year, "Kata."

The heavyweight artist and producer delivers a melodic track that sees him singing about his devotion to his lover over drum-filled production from Phantom. The track features subdued vocals from. the artist, and a beat that's easy to move along to. The song follows the track 'Beh Beh' which he released earlier this year.

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Image courtesy of ARRAY.

What to Watch at Home During Coronavirus Shutdown: ARRAY's New Digital African Film Series

The film platform, from director Ava DuVernay, is hosting a weekly movie-viewing experience for the "global online community of cinephiles."

If you're looking for African films to dive into while at home during the coronavirus outbreak, a new digital series from award-winning director Ava DuVernay's film collective ARRAY is a great place to start. The multi-media platform and arts collective is launching its #ARRAYMatinee series, and each film will be available for viewing here.

#ARRAYMatinee is a virtual movie-viewing experience that will screen a string of the collective's previously released independent films from Africa and the diaspora. The weekly series begins on Wednesday, April 1 with a viewing of the 2015 South African coming-of-age film Ayanda. "Viewers will take a cinematic journey to the international destinations and cultures featured in five films that were released via the ARRAY Releasing independent film distribution collective that amplifies that work of emerging filmmakers of color and women of all kinds," says the platform in a press release. To promote a communal viewing experience, viewers are also encouraged to have discussions on Twitter, using the hashtag #ARRAYMatinee.

The five-part series will run weekly until May 13, and also includes films from Liberia, Ghana, and Grenada. See the full viewing schedule below with descriptions from ARRAY, and visit ARRAY's site at the allotted times to watch.

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Image courtesy of Lula Ali Ismaïl

'Dhalinyaro' Is the Female Coming-of-Age Story Bringing Djibouti's Film Industry to Life

The must-watch film, from Lula Ali Ismaïl, paints a novel picture of Djibouti's capital city through the story of three friends.

If you're having a tough time recalling the last movie you watched from Djibouti, it's likely because you have never watched one before. With an almost non-existent film industry in the country, Lula Ali Ismaïl, tells a beautiful coming of age story of three young female Djiboutian teenagers at the cusp of womanhood. Dhalinyaro offers a never-before-seen view of Djibouti City as a stunning, dynamic city that blends modernity and tradition—a city in which the youth, like all youth everywhere, struggle to decide what their futures will look like. It's a beautiful story of friendship, family, dreams and love from a female filmmaker who wants to tell a "universal story of youth," but set in the country she loves—Djibouti.

The story revolves around the lives of three young friends from different socio-economic backgrounds, with completely varied attitudes towards life, but bound by a deep friendship. There is Asma, the conservative academic genius who dreams of going to medical school and hails from a modest family. Hibo, a rebellious, liberal, spoiled girl from a very wealthy family who learns to be a better friend as the film evolves and finally Deka. Deka is the binding force in the friendship, a brilliant though sometimes naïve teen who finds herself torn between her divorced mother's ambitions to give her a better life having saved up all her life for her to go to university abroad, and her own conviction that she wants to study and succeed in her own country.

Okayafrica contributor, Ciku Kimeria speaks to Ismaïl on her groundbreaking film, her hopes for the filmmaking industry and the universality of stories.

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Stogie T Enlists Nasty C, Boity, Nadia Nakai and More, for ‘The Empire of Sheep’ Deluxe Edition

Stream the deluxe version of Stogie T's EP 'The Empire of Sheep' featuring Nasty C, Boity, Nadia Nakai and more.

Stogie T just shared a deluxe version of his 2019 EP The Empire of Sheep titled EP The Empire of Sheep (Deluxe Unmasked). The project comes with three new songs. "All You Do Is Talk" features fellow South African rappers Nasty C, Boity and Nadia Nakai. New York lyricist appears on "Bad Luck" while one of Stogie T's favorite collaborators Ziyon appears on "The Making."

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