Digital currency in Africa

Ghana’s vice president calls for African countries to adopt digital currencies

African countries should adopt digital currencies to enhance trade within the continent, Ghana’s vice president has stated. Speaking at a recent event, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia stated that adopting a single central payment would finally rectify the challenges that stifle cross-border trade in the region.

Bawumia was speaking at the fifth Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference in Accra, the capital. The theme for the conference revolved around the role of the financial services sector in facilitating trade-finance in Africa.

According to the VP, cross-border trade in Africa has been stifled by exorbitant costs for way too long, and the best way to solve this challenge is through digitalization.

“Digitization has also become one of the most consequential policies of the Nana Akufo-Addo government. When the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic hit and forced many economies into partial and total lockdowns, it reinforced the need to pursue digitization,” he stated.

The VP pointed to the Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) as one possible solution to the fragmented payment methods. PAPPS is a centralized payment and settlement infrastructure for intra-African trade, developed by the African Union.

Bawumia further called on African countries to work towards financial inclusion. “Indeed, one has to recognise that for the financial services sector to play its role, there must be financial inclusion,” he told the attendees, who included central bankers, heads of the biggest financial institutions in Africa and the diplomatic community.

In Ghana, mobile money has been key to promoting financial inclusion, he added. “The implementation of Mobile Money Interoperability in Ghana has shown that more people can be financially included, and this needs to be rolled out across Africa to ensure the growth of the AfCFTA vision.”

Ghana’s central bank has been working on a central bank digital currency. As CoinGeek reported, the bank expects to launch the pilot for the CBDC, known as the e-cedi, by September. One of its goals is to reduce the reliance on cash payments, which make up 63% of all transactions as per the bank’s latest data.

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