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Dr. Ernest Addison, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) says the introduction of the e-Cedi will serve as a tool for financial inclusion, promoting the potential to extend financial services to remote areas.
This inclusion, Dr. Addison said, has significant implications for international transfers and, notably, remittances.
The Governor in his remarks at the recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in Marrakech, Morocco said the cost-effective and secure use of digital currencies for these transactions was a top priority for Ghana.
He provided an in-depth look into Ghana’s pioneering journey toward a digital currency, known as the “e-Cedi,” during a panel discussion at the high-profile event.
He explained that the Central Bank decided to explore the concept of a digital currency for Ghana, a move that marks a pivotal juncture in the nation’s financial landscape.
The Governor said they collaborated with technology partners to delve into the digitalization of the Ghanaian Cedi, seeking to introduce a digital version of the national currency.
“This ambitious project culminated in a pilot programme, launched approximately one year ago, which was highly successful,” he added.
He said one key aspect that made the pilot programme thrive was the enthusiastic participation of Ghana’s vibrant and youthful population.
Dr Addison said the youth’s engagement in digital innovations served as a catalyst, motivating the central bank to champion a domestic form of digitalization, and their trust in the institution played a pivotal role.
He said the digital currency was not privately issued but stems from the Central Bank itself, thus inherently garnering a higher level of trust.
While recognizing the potential of the e-Cedi, Dr. Addison acknowledged the challenges and concerns associated with digital currencies.
He acknowledged cybersecurity threats as a priority for the bank, and technology partners were diligently working to ensure robust security for the new digital currency, coupled with preventing misuse and illegal activities.
Dr. Addison clarified that the e-Cedi was designed as a non-interest-bearing token, ensuring that it does not directly compete with interest-bearing bank accounts.
He said commercial banks were expected to serve as distribution channels for e-Cedi and nevertheless, cross-border compatibility remained a challenge that required international coordination.
He said the Bank after transitioning from the e-Cedi moved to the innovative “hackathon” initiative, which was recently launched aimed at fostering fintech innovation.
The hackathon invites creative minds to devise various use cases for the eCedi, including applications in merchant payments, government transactions, trade, and remittances.
This initiative is expected to run for three months, culminating in the presentation of potentially groundbreaking use cases developed by young innovators from Ghana.