Zambia will conclude its digital asset regulatory framework tests within the next three months, the country’s technology minister has revealed.
The Southern African country announced in February that it was testing a technology that would form the foundation of digital asset regulation. Touting digital assets as the future, the Science and Technology Minister Felix Mutati pointed out that the Zambian government intends to protect investors with the new framework.
This process is set to conclude by June, Mutati told Reuters in an interview.
“Our main goal in the area of cryptocurrency is to strike a balance between innovation in terms of digital payments … against citizens’ safety, particularly given that cryptocurrency is very volatile,” he said.
The Zambian central bank has been working on the tests with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These simulations allow the regulators “to see what would happen in the real world. The results will assist us (in) the formulation of the regulation,” the minister added.
With the tests, Zambia hopes to become one of the first African countries to regulate digital assets. While a few have banned crypto altogether, most have refrained from making any definitive moves. Some, like Kenya, are introducing legislation that will recognize and tax digital assets; others, like Nigeria, have made trading Bitcoin strenuous with banking bans; and some, like South Africa, have regulated a few aspects of the industry, such as Bitcoin ads.
A key factor for the drive to regulate the industry is “increased appetite to invest in Zambia,” the minister said.
And while Zambia isn’t in the top 10 African countries for digital asset volume, the government believes combining them with other digital payments could be the solution to financial inclusion.
“Through digital payment platforms, people will become much more included in digital financial services, and cryptocurrency will be a driver for financial inclusion and a change maker for Zambia’s economy,” the minister stated previously.
The Zambian central bank has also been conducting research on a CBDC, which it says would cut transaction costs and boost the country’s financial inclusion.
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