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Ghana’s Central Bank Thinking of Piloting Digital Currency

27 July 2020 14:12, UTC
Denis Goncharenko

Over the past few years, many countries have moved forward in terms of forging better links between governments and the crypto industry. Even some of the least expected nations like Russia have introduced complex and profound plans about the future of crypto in their countries. Ghana is not an exception, especially considering the booming financial market of the African continent as a whole.

The first deputy governor of Ghana’s Central Bank (BoG) declared that they are still looking forward to potentially introducing their own digital currency. Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari commented on the matter during the stakeholders’ workshop on payment systems and services which was conducted online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ghana’s Central Bank has not been idle over the past year. This spring, the authority established a fintech and an innovation office in efforts to help local tech communities thrive within the financial sector. The body has been doing a lot to benefit companies working within the financial technology sector, considered the future of not only Africa but the entire world.

In general, the authority has been making significant steps towards liberalizing the fintech sector. Cryptos are becoming more and more accepting and forex trading is gaining momentum as the leading financial sector of the country. Ghana is undoubtedly a leader in terms of the forex trading volumes in the region due to how much the local population has adopted not only financial advancements, but also technological advancements such as the smartphone. The innovation in this sector is immense and forex brokers that accept mobile money in Ghana become more and more common. This is a rare practice even in some of the freest and liberal markets across the west and shows how well this African nation is coping with the modern-day challenges.

During the stakeholders’ meeting, Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari made quite a few statements on encouraging online payments within Ghana. This sparked lots of suspicion about whether the plans on the central bank digital currency (CBDC) had been scrapped. However, Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari reassured everyone that the authority keeps working hard on the latter.

Bank of Ghana declared their interest in CBDC last fall

Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari noted during the meeting that the Central Bank of Ghana introduced the Payment Systems Department back in 2016. With this, they started actively encouraging innovation, technology and digital payments. When talking about the institution’s innovative ideas and initiatives, Dr. Opoku-Afari noted that the central bank has been trying to create a fair and competitive environment for quite a long time now. This way, they have been trying to contribute to the development of the financial industry within Ghana.

Besides, it has been announced that the Bank of Ghana authorized a commercial bank to start issuing e-money. That was when the authority first expressed its interest in developing the CBDC during autumn 2019.

The trend that we see in Ghana today is very similar elsewhere on the continent. Countries like Rwanda, Ethiopia and South Africa are trying to adapt their financial sectors at a rapid rate. CBDCs are an important part of this wave of innovation. There is no precise timeline of when we will see the CBDC issued by the Bank of Ghana. However, considering the constant reassurance and continued interest in this sector, the time for it should come quite soon.

Image courtesy of Coinnounce