AN OLD 500 CFA Franc note and a new 500 CFA franc coin. File photo: EPA.

Paris - The French-backed West African CFA franc currency will be reformed and renamed to the "eco," in what Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara called a "historic" move on Saturday.

France, the ex-colonial power in the region, will withdraw from being involved in the committees of the West African joint currency.

The far-reaching reform affects the countries in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (known by its French acronym UEMOA), Ouattara said at a press conference in Abidjan, with French President Emmanuel Macron by his side.

Ivory Coast, Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo are the countries using the joint currency.

The CFA's value is pegged to the euro. There are no plans for this to change.

For those countries that were French colonies, the franc was abolished as a currency after the end of World War II. After independence, the currency was changed to a franc of the financial community of Africa, or Franc de la Communauté Financière Africaine (CFA).

dpa