Through a partnership with Giesecke + Devrient, the central bank will test the e-cedi, a digital version of Ghana’s national currency.

The first general-purpose digital central bank currency (CBDC) in Africa will be driven by the Bank of Ghana, according to a press release released yesterday. The central Bank has partnered with security technology provider Giesecke+Devrient (G + D) to launch the project.

The pilot project will precede the full roll-out of a digital version of cedi, Ghana’s national currency. The e-cedi will complement cash and promote the implementation of a diversified digital payment infrastructure, in which people will be able to participate without the need to have a bank account.

Based in Munich, G + D provides services such as smart cards, banknote and securities printing, and cash processing systems. G+D’s CBDC solution, Filia, will be tailored to Ghana’s needs and ensures regulatory compliance and user data protection. In addition to ensuring strong resilience, availability and security, Filia also works in the absence of a network connection by facilitating consecutive and secure offline payments.

Wolfram Seidemann, CEO of G+D’s money technology business, said : “ Central banks around the world are studying the introduction of digital currency as a legal means of payment. The government of Ghana is one of the first African countries to enter a pilot phase. We are proud to support Ghana with our technology and expertise. »

The country is also digitising its government services as part of the Digital Ghana Agenda, in which this pilot project is an integral part. In the initial design phase of the project, Ghana’s regulatory, economic and technical requirements will be determined so that Filia can be appropriately adapted.

The next step in the process will be to pilot the technology through field trials of different payment channels, such as smart cards and mobile applications, by a group of testers from diverse social and economic backgrounds.

While the pilot is underway, the Bank of Ghana will assess the legal implications of CBDC, as well as its effect on the payment system and monetary policy. E-cedi end users will also be interviewed to assess the level of acceptance of the new form of currency.

The Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison, explained that “ CBDC presents a great opportunity to build a robust, inclusive, competitive and sustainable financial sector, led by the Central Bank. All indications are that the concept has an important role to play in the future of global financial service delivery. This project is an important step towards positioning Ghana to take full advantage of this emerging concept. »