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FREAK Shots: $1 Billion Dinners and Other African Pricing Problems

Fares for a trip to Goree Island in Senegal (the Communaute Financiere Africaine franc, CFA, is the Senegalese currency) break down like this:


Adults- CFA 5,000 (US $13)
Children- CFA 2,500 (US $6)


Adults- CFA 2,500 (US $6)
Children- CFA 1,500 (US $3.60)


Adults- CFA 1,500 (US $3.60)
Children- CFA 500 (US $1.20)

PricingJohannes Kiess

In this skewed pricing scheme, non-Senegalese Africans pay the most for their children relative to their own ticket.

Freakonomics reader Johannes Kiess asks:

Does the pricing mean that Africans who travel with their children must be relatively rich compared to locals and non-Africans and therefore can pay relatively more for their tickets than Africans without children?

It may seem like that’s the case when you look at what some Africans pay for their dinners:

Freakonomics reader Justin Dombrow sent in this receipt from a dinner his South African friend had at the Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe.


But Dombrow’s friend doesn’t have to be rich to pay one and a quarter billion Zimbabwe dollars (ZWD) for two beers, a mineral water, and one dinner.

Thanks to inflation, it comes out to just $2.70 in U.S. dollars (according to

Zimbabwe’s severe inflation sparked a parody of the Million Dollar HomepageThe Million Zimbabwean Dollar Homepage (worth US $0.002159).

(Send your FREAK-worthy photos here.)