Niger uses the West African CFA franc (XOF), which is pronounced “say-eff-ah.” Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal, and Togo also use it. While technically distinct from the Central African CFA franc (XAF), the two currencies are used interchangeably at par in all CFA franc (XAF & XOF)-using nations.
The French treasury backs both CFA francs, which are linked to the euro at €1 = XOF655.957.
US dollars and other foreign currencies are not accepted in everyday transactions; they must be exchanged for local currency via a bank or the black market. Exception: near the Nigerian border, the depreciating Nigerian currency Naira is allowed.
Bargaining and haggling are necessary and anticipated. Before going into a negotiation, it’s wise to have a low and a high price in mind. If the price is more than you desire, just say thank you and walk away: if you offered a reasonable amount, you will be called back. If you offered too low a price, you will not be called back, but you may always return later and offer a higher price.
- intricately imprinted leather boxes (ranging from small 5cm boxes to full-size trunks)
- other leather goods
- silver jewellery
- colourful hand-woven wedding blankets
- coloured straw mats (and here, we don’t mean the plastic mats from China)
- fabric (only the Enitex brand is made in Niger, but there are many other kinds that are also good)