Guinea-Bissau uses the West African CFA franc (XOF). Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo all use it. While technically distinct from the Central African CFA franc (XAF), the two currencies are used interchangeably at par in all nations that utilize the CFA franc (XAF & XOF).
The French Treasury backs both CFA francs, which are linked to the euro at 1 euro = 655.957 CFA francs.
The first ATMs came in Guinea-Bissau in December 2007, at the BAO (Banco da Africa Occidental) branches in Bissau and Gabon. In Bissau, an ATM is also being installed at the Hotel Malaika. These ATMs will only work if you have a local bank account with them. It’s probably still safer to carry enough euros or FCFA to cover your stay. Bissau (eight sites), Bafatá, Gab, Buba, Canchungo, and Mansoa are all served by Western Union. (They’re going to scam you off by taking 10%.)
Bandim Market, located on the main route into town, is the country’s biggest market. There are numerous items to purchase there, and the environment is pleasant. Small sellers may be found on most of the capital’s roadways. Small merchants selling essentials may also be found in the villages (Tabankas). Larger marketplaces known as “Lumo” may be found in the countryside’s major towns, where farmers and merchants can sell and trade their wares. Remember that Guinea-Bissau is a poor nation, thus shopping opportunities are limited compared to Gambia or Senegal.
Shopping phrases in Creole: Ke ku bu misti? (Can you tell me what you’re looking for?) N ka mistil (I don’t want it) N mistil (I want it)