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African Central Banks Are Interested in Digital Currencies

Central banks from around the globe are closely monitoring the situation regarding digital currencies. Nigeria’s introduction of the e-Naira in October has prompted several central banks in Africa to explore digital currencies or are piloting them. The country named Bahamas, the second country to adopt a central bank digital currency was Africa’s most populous country.

Due to their central bank origin and regulation, CBDCs are less volatile more secure than crypto assets.

Pilot projects are being conducted in Ghana and South Africa. Other nations are conducting research. Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Madagascar, Namibia, Zambia, and others are exploring digital currencies.

The South African central bank’s second phase of Project Khokha entails creating a CBDC, which financial institutions can only use for transfers to other banks.  For instance, South Africa has signed on to a joint project with the banks of, Malaysia, Australia and Singapore

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A common-purpose CBDC, e-Cedi, is being tested by the Bank of Ghana for retail use. It can be utilized with a contactless smart card or an app for a digital wallet.

CBDCs are issued by different countries for different reasons. But there are a few important benefits.

This design aspect of CBDCs can encourage financial inclusion by extending monetary benefits to people who do not have accounts of the bank, keenly if they are targeted at people who do not live near physical banks. For example, with no access of internet, some countries allow their residents to use simple feature phones to send digital transactions at few or cost-free

Why must central banks pay more attention to digital currencies?

One advantage of central bank digital currencies is that they can be employed to distribute welfare payments more evenly during emergencies like the Covid-19 pandemic. No one would disagree that Covid-19 was not great for many people. CBDCs can play an important role in such cases.

Such technology can help to bring down the cost of remittances in Africa because of the cheap digital infrastructure that has taken root in countries like Nigeria. Credit bureau crypto collectibles can facilitate more speedy and cost-effective sending of remittances by reducing payment time and fostering competition between service providers. They could expand trade, both in the area and further afield.

In spite of this, CBDCs come with challenges and risks. African and other countries need to provide better approach to infrastructure of digital apps. In the sub-Saharan region, more work needs to be done.

On top of that, central banks need to figure out how to take risks of privacy of data, including hacking and leaks, into account. This, in turn, presents a danger that people will withdraw much of their money from the banks to buy CBDCs, thereby endangering the banks’ capacity to lend. And this is a big crises for countries with unsteady financial systems.

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