The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has partnered with Giesecke+Devrient (G+D), company headquartered in Munich that provides banknote and securities printing, smart cards, and cash handling systems to roll out a general purpose Central Bank Digital Currency (retail CBDC).
Founded in 1852 by Hermann Giesecke and Alphonse Devrient, G+D has expanded operations to include banknote processing, smart cards, identification systems, and e-payments. The firm is the world’s second largest supplier of banknotes, with annual revenues of $2.45 billion.
According to the partnership agreement with Ghana, G+D is providing the technology and developing the solution adapted to Ghana’s requirements, which will be tested in a trial phase with banks, payment service providers, merchants, consumers and other relevant stakeholders.
G+D will now provide its proprietary CBDC solution known as Filia to pilot the issuance of a digital form of Ghana’s national currency, the cedi.
Digital Ghana Agenda
The project is part of the ‘Digital Ghana Agenda‘, which involves the digitization of the country of 30 million people and its government services.
The project will take place in three phases which are the design, implementation and pilot.
According to Dr. Ernest Addison, the governor of the country’s central bank, the new proposed digital currency will go into effect after three pilot stages confirm it to be a positive thing to introduce into the local economy.
Currently, the e-cedi has completed the first phase of the process where the design has been made and finalized by a centralized committee.
The e-Cedi is intended to complement and serve as a digital alternative to physical cash, thus driving the Ghanaian cash lite agenda through the promotion of diverse digital payments, while ensuring a secure and robust payment infrastructure in Ghana.
It also aims to facilitate payments without a bank account, contract, or smartphone, by so doing boosting the use of digital services and financial inclusion amongst all demographic groups.
“CBDC presents a great opportunity to build a robust, inclusive, competitive and sustainable financial sector, led by the Central Bank. From all indications, the concept has a significant role to play in the future of financial service delivery globally. This project is a significant step towards positioning Ghana to take full advantage of this emerging concept,” said Dr. Ernest Addison.
According to Dr. Wolfram Seidemann, the CEO of the Giesecke+Devrient (D+G) Currency Technology business sector, Central banks around the world are exploring the introduction of digital money as legal tender.
He further noted that the Ghanaian government is one of the first African countries now entering a pilot phase.
“We are proud to support Ghana with our technology and expertise,” Dr. Wolfram Seidemann said.
In January 2015, G+D founded Veridos GmbH in Berlin as a cooperation with Bundesdruckerei, with G+D holding 60%. This company is offering secure identification products for governments, such as ID cards, passports, and automated border control systems.
In 2017, Giesecke+Devrient joined the Verimi identification platform, which together with more than a dozen well-known German and foreign companies, offers a portal for the protection of digital identity and personal data. G+D has held a 10% stake in Verimi since January 2018.
In April 2018, the previous Giesecke & Devrient GmbH (G&D) was renamed to Giesecke+Devrient GmbH (G+D) as the mother company.