Bank of West Africa (BAO)

Bank Of West Africa (BAO)

Bank of West Africa (BAO)

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Banque d'Afrique Occidentale (also B.A.O. or BAO or Banque de l'AOF): (French for Bank of West Africa) bank established in 1901 in Dakar, Sénégal, by French colonial authorities as the central bank of the colonies of French West Africa.1901#Afrique

Colonial History

Originally created by the expansion of the Banque du Sénégal (itself created by the French on 21 December 1853), the BAO was later expanded to include French Equatorial Africa to administer the common currency of French West Africa. Although it was a private investment bank, the French government authorized it to print currency, and its board always included colonial officials. It received special concessions and financial stabilisation from the government, and in essence became an arm of the French colonial administration. Between 1941 and 1958, the Institut d’Emission de l’Afrique Occidentale Francaise et du Togo was spun off the BAO to administer the Franc des colonies françaises d'Afrique (25 December 1945).

Economic Role in Colonial Structure

Historians like Henri Brunschwig have pointed to the importance of the BOA in the assimilation of French West Africa into the French economic system. Its founding in 1901 came after the extension of limited taxation of subjects, forced labor laws, and...
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