Browsing: Central Bank Digital Currency

Central Bank of Rwanda head office in the capital Kigali. www.theexchange.africa

In October 2021 Nigeria became the first country in Africa and of among few in the world to issue a digital currency that was dubbed ‘eNaira’.

Financial experts say the digital currency issued by central banks cut transaction costs and increase financial inclusion.

Maurice Muhiza Rwamigabo, Head of Exploration & Coordinator at the Accelerator Lab (an innovation and technology lab) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Rwanda, said in an opinion article titled ‘Should Rwanda adopt a national digital currency?’ that if Rwanda wants to restructure its financial system and position itself as an important player in the future global economy, it should systematically assess and take the steps needed to develop its own Central Bank Digital CBDC. 

“A CBDC would offer Rwandans a safe, free, and easy alternative to cash. It would expand financial inclusion by enabling more of the unbanked population to participate in the formal economy,” explained Rwamigabo.

The Central Bank of Kenya added that all countries in the region needed to participate in flattening the multi-layered correspondent banking structure and shortening the payment chains for a digital currency to work.

The development of CBDCs has been on the rise. According to a 2021 survey of central banks by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), 86 per cent of central banks are in the process of researching the potential for CBDCs, 60 per cent are experimenting on them, and 14 per cent were deploying pilot projects.

The CBK has maintained the cryptocurrency ban and has not issued a digital currency due to concerns about the risks of a CBDC.

Whether Nigeria and Ghana will abandon their digital currencies and jump on the Eco train is an unclear narrative, but it appears unlikely because of the significant investments put into them and the optimism by the governments to embrace digital transformations.

Nigeria had banned cryptocurrency transactions in February last year which increased the popularity of the eNaira as an alternative for cross-border trade and remittance inflows.

eNaira critics say that the solutions being offered by the digital currency are already existing in online banking and bank card transactions.

Since Tanzania is still conducting research on cryptocurrencies, rules to govern the sector will be issued after research on crypto is complete. Currently, Tanzania has no regulations for cryptocurrencies and those trading in the sector have been urged to be cautious.
However, there is no timeframe for when regulations will be issued.
In June, President Suluhu asked the country’s financial leaders to prepare for crypto and blockchain as the country drops its conservatism and flies its doors open to the new era of digital currency.