The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has said that it is considering the release of the digital version of the national currency, e-Cedi.
Speaking during the 23rd National Banking Conference, Ernest Kwamina Yedu Addison, Governor, Bank of Ghana, said:
“The Bank of Ghana is in discussion with key stakeholders to explore a pilot project (in a sandbox environment) on central bank digital currency with the possibility of issuing an e-Cedi in the near future. The opportunities of digitizing financial services are enormous and can be explored effectively to scale up financial access for Ghana’s economic transformation agenda.”
The digital payments space in Ghana has seen tremendous growth with over 140 billion Ghaha Cedis being transacted through mobile payment systems in the first half of 2019 alone. This is a 34% increase in transaction volumes compared to the same period in 2018.
Below are more stats from the Ghana economy that has prompted this development:
- 140B Cedis transacted in Q1, 2019
- 34% YoY growth
- 3.3M bank cheques down from 3.6M YoY
The move towards fintech is not a surprise for a lot of Ghanaian banks. According to Patricia Sappor, President, Chartered Institute of Bankers, said:
“Some banks have recorded over 80% of their transactions emanating from these digital and electronic channels. I commend this drive and urge banks in Ghana to continue to disrupt themselves and leverage emerging technologies such as AI, Deep Data Mining, Robotics, Blockchain, etc.”
While the introduction of a Ghanaian CBDC is a step in the right direction, there are still a lot of regulatory concerns that need to be addressed around the banking industry in the country to ensure financial institutions can leverage these digital fintech technologies while promoting competition and partnerships.
African countries are increasingly looking at CBDC as an engine for economic growth. Recently, the Central Bank of Morocco expressed interest in building disruptive fintech solutions on the blockchain with an interest in CBDCs.
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