Zambia’s Minister for Technology and Science has said the country, through the Security Exchange Commission and Bank of Zambia, is currently testing technology to enable regulation of cryptocurrency in the country.
In a statement published on his ministry’s website, Mr. Mutati said while cryptocurrency is the future the country desires to achieve, there is a need for a policy framework that supports this revolutionary technology.
The Minister’s statement marks the first signs of progress since the lack of regulation has created a confusing environment for businesses and other operators in the country.
In 2019, the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) suggested that there was need to revise the BoZ Act, since the crypto market developed well after the Act was instituted. Back then, the bank had put out a cautionary statement saying that ‘cryptocurrencies like bitcoin aren’t legal tender.’
In the same vein, the SEC said it had no jurisdiction over cryptocurrencies and digital assets.
“The fact of the matter is that currently, these products/assets are not regulated by the Commission unless they meet the definition of a security as defined by the Act and this, as indicated, will be considered on a case by case basis,” said Philip Chitalu, the SEC Chief Executive Officer.
However, it was reported in February 2022 that the Bank of Zambia was exploring the pros and cons of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and the exploration was supposed to be complete in Q4 2022.
Speaking in Lusaka, Mr. Mutati said the testing of the technology on regulating cryptocurrency will be up-scaled in due course as part of deliberate measures to achieve an inclusive digital economy for Zambia.
The Minister said, currently, Zambia is putting in place appropriate digital infrastructure, attracting investments in technology, and creating access thereby positioning itself to be a hub of technology in the region. “Zambia has created magnetism that attracts investments and it is one of the countries in Africa that is becoming a must-be place for investment.”
Below are pictures from Mr. Mutati’s meeting:
The meeting comes on the same week the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Situmbeko Musukotwane, played host to several members of the Ethereum community including Ethereum founder, Vitalik Buterin.
This Monday I was pleased to host @VitalikButerin, @yosephayele, @technocrypto , @lirazsiri, @iamsonge, & Vicki Coleman, from the @ethereum community alongside several others at the @mofnpzambia.
It was illuminating to learn more about the Ethereum blockchain & its potential. pic.twitter.com/1EMWDeNQ6D
— Situmbeko Musokotwane (@S_Musokotwane) February 15, 2023
According to players in the country, Zambia’s tech ecosystem is expanding, thanks to the government which has brought about changes in ICT and regulation to encourage a more robust ecosystem and innovations. One of Africa’s most known countries, Zambia is keen to take advantage of crypto and blockchain technologies to boost the lives of the people and to become a stronger country in Africa. Mr. Mutati said the government targets to reach over $4.7 million in terms of digital payments which will, as a result, be huge for the economy. He added that, through digital payment platforms, people will become much more included in digital financial services, hence, cryptocurrency will be a driver for financial inclusion and a change maker for Zambia’s economy.
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