The Bank of Ghana (BoG) will launch its central bank digital currency project’s pilot in September, according to the Bank’s First deputy governor, Maxwell Opuku-Afari.
Modern Ghana, a local news outlet, reported that the deputy governor said the project is currently in its last phase of development, and implementation is expected to start in two months’ time.
“The pilot phase is expected to start by September and the success rate will determine the next step.”
The project is aimed at transforming the West African developing nation into a cash-lite environment. It is also intended to enhance financial inclusion, encourage competition in the financial sector and promote both the efficiency and stability of the payment system.
The governor said that to better understand how the post-pandemic era will affect monetary policies, the BoG has decided to design the CBDC with all the security features.
“We have started it in a pilot phase through what we call a sand-box to learn lessons before we open it up to the general public.”
The BoG partnered with the digital transformation consortium Emtech back in February to launch the sandbox which focuses on blockchain technology, central bank digital currencies, and financial inclusion. Emtech’s other partners include Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Lenovo, and Lexmark.
“We will continue to keep the sand-box to promote innovation.”
Ghana Becomes First African Country to Develop a CBDC
In early June, the BoG Governor Ernest Addison said the initial launch will be accessible to a few people involved in the launch through mobile-based applications. The country, which has proven to be a budding technological hub in West Africa and the continent at large, said that it is the first to conduct work on a digital currency.
“We’re quite advanced in that process. With these types of things, you have to go at it in phases and the first phase was really on the design of the electronic money and the team that has gone quite far in the design phase, they are looking at the implementation phase.”
Addison further said that there is a need for states to put more emphasis on central bank-backed digital money since private forms or money will not effectively perform what is required of money.
Ghana’s SEC to Consider Regulating Cryptocurrencies
The country labeled cryptocurrency transactions as illegal in May 2021 and urged people to stay away from them. The Ghana Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that cryptocurrencies are unregulated, but according to the commission’s deputy director-general Paul Ababio, Ghana might eventually decide to regulate the crypto industry.
“The bank of Ghana does not treat it as a form of payment, it is not a legal tender but we will be engaging further to come out with frameworks.”