Dr Ernest Addison, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, has announced that the nation is exploring a central bank-issued digital currency.
In a keynote address at the 23rd Annual Banking Conference in Accra, Addison described the move as a “pilot project” which will initially be trialled in a sandbox environment.
The new digital currency will reportedly be named the ‘e-cedi’. The Bank of Ghana is currently in talks with key stakeholders to finalise the details of the project.
However, it’s unclear how far the Central Bank of Ghana has progressed with its plans, and which blockchain infrastructure the digital currency would be built on.
The keynote address made it clear where Addison sees the future of Ghana’s financial sector:
“In conclusion, Mr Chairman, let me note that the future of financial services is digitisation… the opportunities of digitising financial services are enormous and can be explored effectively to scale up financial access for Ghana’s economic transformation agenda.”
Addison also shared that digital innovations are providing a cost-effective and innovative way for Ghana’s financial sector to “reorient itself” and pursue new opportunities in consumer and business financial services.
African adoption of blockchain technology
Ghana is one of several African nations to explore blockchain technology, which many see as a method of leapfrogging traditional financial infrastructure and modernising access to banking products in developing nations.
Last year, Ghanaian officials expressed an interest in using blockchain technology for land registry purposes, to provide official deeds to land owners and reduce land fraud.
Similarly, the small African enclave of Lesotho signed a memorandum of understanding last week with the Apollo Foundation to reduce financial crime and facilitate cross-border payments.
Developing economies in Africa have typically had difficulties in providing fair and transparent access to banking and financial services, which serve a broad cross section of society.
However, blockchain technology, which can be accessed and used with inexpensive devices such as basic mobile phones, has the power to transform the way African nations use financial services.
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