A new rule requiring companies operating in Cemac countries to retain revenues in the Central African CFA franc (XAF) currency could produce a windfall in exchange fees for local banks — and headaches for international businesses in the region.

The International Monetary Fund-backed rule, which goes into force at the start of 2021, follows restrictions imposed on opening offshore and overseas accounts, and a new requirement to apply every two years to the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) for permission to maintain onshore foreign currency accounts.