What Is the Comorian Franc (KMF)?

The Comorian franc (KMF) is the national currency of Comoros, a sovereign African archipelago island nation located in the Indian Ocean northwest of Madagascar and off the east coast of Mozambique.

As of September 2020, $1 U.S. is equal to roughly 420 KMF.

Key Takeaways

  • The Comorian franc (KMF) is the official currency of the African island nation of Comoros.
  • The Comoros franc is pegged to the euro at an effective rate of ~492 KMF to 1 EUR.
  • Comoros is one of the poorest countries in the world, with high unemployment and low levels of education. Economic growth and poverty reduction are top priorities for the government.

Understanding the Comorian Franc

The Comorian franc is made up of 100 centimes and is often represented by the symbol CF. KMF banknotes are printed in denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 francs. Coins are minted in denominations of 25, 50, 100 and 250 francs. The KMF is pegged to the euro at an exchange rate of 491.96775 to 1.

Comoros was initially part of a French colony including Madagascar when the island of Mayotte was purchased in 1841, but the first Europeans to discover the archipelago were Portuguese in the year 1505. As a French colony, the money used was the French franc.

In 1920, Comorian currency was first printed on an emergency basis on a series of Madagascar postage stamps that had been altered to become legal tender and circulate as money in exchange. The Comorian franc was first formally issued in 1960 and has appeared in both coin and bill form in various denominations.

Coins dedicated specifically to Comoros were issued in 1964, and Arabic printing has been stamped on them since 1975. The KMF was pegged to the French franc until 1999, at a rate of 50 MKF to 1 French franc, when it was subsequently pegged to the euro upon the new currency’s introduction. Currency rankings show that the most popular KMF exchange rate is the United States dollar (USD) to KMF rate.

Economy of the Union of Comoros

The Union of Comoros is made of three islands: Anjouan, Moheli and Grand Comore. A fourth island, Mayotte, was part of the archipelago union until 1975, when the Comoros Union declared independence from France. However, France did not recognize the independence of Mayotte, and the island remains under French administration to this day.

Comoros has one of the poorest and smallest economies in the world. The island’s workforce has a low level of education, and there are not enough natural resources available either for residents or to use as exports. The primary industries of the nation, fishing and tourism, are vulnerable to the region’s extreme weather conditions and sporadic volcanic activity. As a result, despite a relatively low rate of unemployment in the range of 6-10 percent; roughly half of its 851,000 citizens live below the poverty line. The population of Comoros is largely young; approximately 40 percent of residents are 14 years old or younger.

Agriculture is crucial to the local economy of the Comoros, as is the income generated by its three major exports: vanilla, cloves, and a perfume essence known as ylang ylang. But despite the archipelago’s arable land, fertile soil and large fishing industry, the country still imports around 70 percent of its food. For 2019, Comoros saw real GDP growth of 1.5% with inflation at 3.3%.