Through a partnership with Giesecke+Devrient, the central bank will test out the e-cedi, a digital version of Ghana’s national currency
Africa’s first general purpose central bank digital currency (CBDC) will be piloted by the Bank of Ghana, according to a press release yesterday. The central bank has partnered with security technology provider Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) to launch the scheme.
The pilot will precede the full rollout of a digital version of the cedi, Ghana’s national currency. The e-cedi will complement physical cash and drive a diverse digital payments infrastructure in which people can participate without the need of a bank account.
Based in Munich, G+D provides services such as smart cards, banknote and securities printing, and cash handling systems. G+D’s CBDC solution, Filia, will be adapted for Ghana’s needs and provides regulatory compliance and user data protection. As well as ensuring strong resilience, availability and security, Filia also functions when there is no network connection by facilitating secure, consecutive offline payments.
CEO of G+D’s Currency Technology sector, Wolfram Seidemann, said, “Central banks around the world are exploring the introduction of digital money as legal tender. 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.”
The country is also digitising its government services as part of the Digital Ghana Agenda, in which this pilot project is integral. In the initial design phase of the project, Ghana’s regulatory, economic and technical requirements will be determined so that Filia can be suitably adapted.
The next stage of the process will involve the actual piloting of the technology through field tests of different payment channels such as smart cards and mobile apps by a group of testers from various social and economic backgrounds.
While the pilot is ongoing, the Bank of Ghana will assess the legal implications of the CBDC, as well as its effect on the payment system and monetary policy. End users of the e-cedi will also be surveyed to gauge the level of acceptance of the new form of currency.
Bank of Ghana Governor, Dr Ernest Addison, explained, “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.”