Bank of Ghana (BoG) has announced a partnership agreement with the German Currency technology platform, Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) to pilot a general-purpose Central Bank Digital Currency (retail CBDC) in Ghana, West Africa.
BoG shared in the Press Release that G+D will play a major role in launching Ghana’s e-Cedi Pilot. G+D will pilot the issuance of digital forms for Ghana’s CBDC. The firm will provide the required technology for trial runs of the digital Cedi. Additionally, it will also work on Ghana-specific design and implementation of the pilot project. The trial phase will begin with banks, payment service providers, merchants, consumers, and other relevant stakeholders.
Dr. Ernest K. Y. Addision, Governor of Bank of Ghana said, “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.”
CBDC to enable ‘Digital Ghana Agenda’
The announcement stated that this CBDC project is part of the “Digital Ghana Agenda,” directed towards the digitization of government services and more in the country of 30 million people. However, the BoG does not intend for e-Cedi to take over Ghana’s traditional currency. Instead, it is aimed to work as a digital alternative for Ghana’s citizens in Web 3.0, i.e., “driving the Ghanaian cash lite agenda”.
Furthermore, e-Cedi will enable mass digitization of financial services amongst all demographic groups by facilitating payments without a bank account, contract, or smartphone.
“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,” said Dr. Wolfram Seidemann, CEO of the Giesecke+Devrient Currency Technology business sector.
India joins the CBDC trend
CBDC has gained popularity in governments worldwide. Recently, India also joined the race of CBDCs by announcing that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is planning to launch its model for operations of fiat digital currencies by the end of 2021. Deputy Governor, T. Rabi Sankar referred to the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) report to highlight the relevance of CBDC. Stating that, 86% of central banks in the world are researching CBDC, 60% are experimenting with it, and 14% of central banks are already in the pilot testing phase.