Browsing: central banks

AfCFTA

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is now widely touted as the African Union’s (AU) most audacious project. The framework ties together the most significant number of member countries of any trade agreement since the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995.

The AfCFTA had become topical even before its formal launch. Members of the business community eagerly awaited the full implementation of the AfCFTA. But two years since its formal launch, how far has the AfCFTA ushered in the ‘new era’ of African integration it promised?…

CBDCs in Africa

When CBDCs first came to the fore, many touted such a move as a game-changer in digital finance. Many had thought that the adoption of CBDCs in Africa would take the shape of the adoption of cryptocurrencies, where the region leads in many aspects. However, challenges remain. Lack of the requisite infrastructure, low levels of financial literacy, and operational and regulatory challenges have combined to contribute to low penetration and adoption rates for CBDCs.

The lack of adoption is a current failure point for many launched CBDCs. Nigeria’s eNaira had a million customers one year into its launch, a smattering of its 221 million population. The real challenge of CBDCs lies in developing a clear sense of purpose. African central banks must answer to the kind of role that CBDCs will play in the economy and financial systems.…

Government control in the adoption of CBDCs

Regionalising the power balance between central and commercial banks can address the risks associated with the adoption of CBDCs in Africa. Commercial bank digital wallets can thus reduce the costs underlying the correspondent banking channels. These wallets can also promote cross-border trade in Africa by restricting the focus of central banks to the B2B and interbank payment ecosystems. Central banks have traditionally managed this well while incorporating these systems across borders. In such a scenario, each actor—public and private—does what it does best.…

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Africa's debt sustainability struggles

Over the past decade, African countries have accumulated external debt at a faster pace. The countries have capitalized on abundant, low-cost international credit for fiscal and balance-of-payments funding to help drive development plans.

Africa’s total external debt, accrued by both the private and public sectors, owed to foreign lenders, has surpassed $1 trillion. The related annual debt servicing costs broke through the $100 billion threshold for the first time in 2021.…

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De-dollarise African trade

There appears to be a consensus that the world is finally turning its back on the US dollar. There are simmering shifts within the global monetary system. The shift becomes ever more apparent, best described as de-dollarisation.

The world is searching for alternatives to the US dollar, finding them more often. Thus, moving away from the dollar can no longer be stopped. For instance, early this year, Indonesia reiterated it would promote local currency settlement (LCS) in cross-border trade and investment to reduce dependence on the US dollar.…

Monetary and fiscal policy are two powerful tools that governments use to steer economies. www.theexchange.africa

Countries must continue to work to mitigate their vulnerabilities over time. This involves minimizing balance-sheet misalignments, establishing money and foreign exchange markets, and lowering exchange rate passthrough by increasing monetary policy credibility.

However, in the short term—while vulnerabilities remain high—the use of extra instruments may assist relieve short-term policy trade-offs when certain shocks occur. In particular, foreign exchange intervention, macroprudential policy measures, and capital flow controls may help increase monetary and fiscal policy autonomy, promote financial and price stability, and minimize output volatility if reserves are enough and these instruments are available.…