What Is the Comorian Franc (KMF)?

The term Comorian franc (KMF) refers to the official national currency of Comoros, a sovereign African island nation located in the Indian Ocean. It is maintained and issued by the country's central bank, la Banque Centrale des Comores. It is represented by the symbol KMF on global currency exchanges. The Comorian franc was pegged to the euro as of 1999 at a rate of 491.96775 Comorian francs to one euro. As of March 2021, $1 U.S. is equal to roughly 409 KMF.

Key Takeaways

  • The Comorian franc is the official currency of the African island nation of Comoros.
  • The Comoros franc is pegged to the euro at an effective rate of about 492 KMF to 1 EUR.
  • One franc is divided into 100 centimes, although no centimes have ever been issued.
  • Comoros is one of the poorest countries in the world, with high unemployment and low levels of education.

Understanding the Comorian Franc (KMF)

The franc is the official national currency of the island archipelago of Comoros. The country's central bank is responsible for maintaining its value and is in charge of its circulation. The bank, called la Banque Centrale des Comores, was established in 1981, six years after the country gained its independence. The central bank is located in the capital of Moroni.

Banknotes are printed in various denominations ranging from the 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10,000 franc notes. The country also uses coins, which are minted in 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 franc denominations. A single franc is divided into 100 centimes, although no centimes have ever been issued or used.

The KMF is pegged to the euro. This relationship was established when the European Union adopted the euro in 1999. The exchange rate was fixed—and remains as such—at 491.96775 francs to one euro. Prior to this, the Comorian franc was pegged to the French franc at a rate of 50 KMF to 1 French franc. Currency rankings show that the KMF is most often exchanged with the United States dollar (USD).

Although the Comorian franc is pegged to the euro, it is most often exchanged with the U.S. dollar.

Cash is predominantly used in the island nation. Larger establishments, such as hotels, may take credit cards. Transactions are executed in the local currency, although there are some merchants who accept both the U.S. dollar and the euro along with the Comoros franc. Change, however, is given in the KMF.

Special Considerations

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% to 10%, roughly half of its 851,000 citizens live below the poverty line. The population of Comoros is largely young—approximately 40% of residents are 14 years old or younger.

Agriculture is crucial to the local economy of Comoros, as is the income generated by its three major exports, vanilla, cloves, and a perfume essence known as ylang-ylang. 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 1.9% with inflation at 2%.

History of Comoros

Comoros was initially part of a French colony, which included 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 the 1960s and has appeared in both coin and bill form in various denominations. Coins dedicated specifically to Comoros were issued in the early 1960s, and Arabic printing has been stamped on them since 1975.

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