Bank of Ghana has signed a partnership agreement with German IT giant, Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) to pilot Africa’s first general-purpose Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) also known as e-cedi in Ghana.
A joint statement from the two institutions said G+D is providing the technology and developing the solution adapted to Ghana’s requirements, which will be tested in a trial phase with banks, payment service providers, merchants, consumers and other relevant stakeholders.
First Deputy Governor of BoG, Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari recently told journalists on the sidelines of a training workshop that some 500 institutions and individuals have been selected for the pilot in September, subsequent to which the e-cedi will be released to the general public.
The introduction of the e-cedi, according to the Central Bank, forms part of the Ghana’s ‘Digital Ghana Agenda’, which involves the digitization of the country particularly all of government services for easy access to the 30 million people.
The digital cedi, or e-cedi, is intended to complement and serve as a digital alternative to physical cash, thus driving the Ghanaian cashlite agenda through promotion of diverse digital payments, while ensuring a secure and robust payment infrastructure in Ghana.
It also aims to facilitate payments without a bank account, contract, or smartphone, by so doing boosting the use of digital services and financial inclusion amongst all demographic groups.
BoG has steered clear and actually cautioned the public against the current digital currencies or cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ether and others because they are private, not backed by any central bank or government and have proven very volatile.
But they are confident the e-cedi will serve Ghanaians well because it has state and central bank backing.
“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,” Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Yedu Addison said on Wednesday.
On his part, Dr. Wolfram Seidemann, CEO of the Giesecke+Devrient Currency Technology 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.”