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(1) The monetary unit of France; it is divided into 100 centimes. A French franc with a gold content of 0.29032258 g of fine gold was introduced to replace the livre; it was in circulation from 1799 to 1914. A franc with this gold content is used as a unit of account by the Bank for International Settlements and the Universal Postal Union. The gold content of the franc has been lowered several times (to 0.05985 g of fine gold in 1928, 0.00746113 g in 1945, and 0.0018 g in 1958). On Jan. 1, 1960, a new franc, equivalent to 100 old francs, was introduced. From Apr. 24, 1972, to Jan 19, 1974, and from July 10, 1975, to Mar. 15, 1976, the franc was included in the system of limited exchange rate fluctuations of the countries in the Common Market (±2.25 percent against the central exchange rate).
The French franc is the monetary unit of France’s overseas departments (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, and Reunion), the overseas territories of St. Pierre and Miquelon, and the principality of Monaco. According to the rate of exchange of the State Bank of the USSR of June 1977, 100 French francs were equivalent to 15 rubles.
(2) Either of two monetary units introduced on the basis of a decree by the French government on Dec. 26, 1945, for countries in Africa and the Pacific included in the franc zone (seeCURRENCY ZONES). In 1960 the franc used in Africa was named the franc of the Communauté Financière Africaine (CFA franc), and in 1967 the Pacific franc was named the franc of the Communauté Financière du Pacifique.
The CFA franc is the monetary unit of Benin (formerly Dahomey), the Ivory Coast, Upper Volta, Gabon, Cameroon, the Comoros, the Congo, Niger, Senegal, Togo, the Central African Republic, and Chad, with 50 CFA francs being equal to one French franc. The franc is also the monetary unit of Mali (100 Malian francs equaling one French franc); according to the June 1977 rate of exchange of the State Bank of the USSR, 1,000 Malian francs were equivalent to one ruble 50 kopeks. Djibouti (Afars and Issas) also uses the franc, with 38.6 Djibouti francs equivalent to one French franc. The Pacific franc is the monetary unit of New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and the islands of Wallis and Futuna; 18.18 Pacific francs are equivalent to one French franc. The franc is also the monetary unit of the New Hebrides, a joint possession of Great Britain and France; 16.16 New Hebrides francs are equivalent to one French franc.
(3) The monetary unit of Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Burundi, Rwanda, and Madagascar. The Belgian and Luxembourg francs are equal in value and are included in the system of limited exchange rate fluctuations in the Common Market. According to the June 1977 rates of exchange of the State Bank of the USSR, 100 Belgian francs were equivalent to two rubles six kopeks, and 100 Swiss francs were equivalent to 29 rubles 47 kopeks.
E. D. ZOLOTARENKO