The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has yet to decide a roadmap for the eCedi roll-out, despite a successful completion of the pilot last year, Head-FinTech and Innovation, BoG, Kwame Oppong, has said.
The uncertainty surrounding official introduction of the digital currency, he explains, is due to the crunch economic conditions in the country – marked by high inflation, rising debt stock and a rising cost of living.
“Currently, the decision when to potentially introduce eCedi is yet to be determined, ” he told journalists during the Africa Money & DeFi Summit West Africa in Accra.
“We completed the pilot successfully last year. Internally, we continue to work on it [eCedi]. However, due to the economic instability, it’s crucial to ensure stability before introducing it. Even product developers like yourselves,” he said, referring to participants at the summit, “you don’t introduce products in the midst of instability.” Mr. Oppong’s comments were in response to a question from a participant at the end of a panel discussion on ‘Unpacking Financial Innovation, Regulation and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)’, as to when the central bank plans to officially implement the digital currency.
The eCedi is part of the country’s financial sector digitisation programme, which aims to foster financial inclusion and spur economic growth. However, the ongoing economic difficulties have compelled the central bank to put its official roll-out on hold.
As part of efforts toward eventual introduction of the eCedi in future, the central bank launched the eCedi hackathon programme in collaboration with Emtech during the Africa Money and DeFi Summit West Africa.
This initiative is expected to bring together domestic innovators and developers to collaboratively devise solutions that will expedite the eCedi’s introduction.
“Within this context, we will be harnessing the creativity of young developers and innovators in Ghana to develop use-cases for a potential eCedi. This demonstrates our commitment to considering eCedi as an enabler of the broader ecosystem rather than a competing product,” Mr. Oppong said.
“During this time, we will provide orientations, select different ideas and proposals, provide coaching, and mentoring to help participants develop innovative solutions. Following these stages, there will be a final pitch and a competition with winners being announced and awarded,” he added.
Mr. Oppong therefore urged young innovators and developers to take advantage of the call for applications to join the central bank’s quest to unlock the future of digital finance with a digital cedi.
Carmelle Cadet, founder and CEO-Emtech, described the hackathon as a remarkable opportunity. She emphasised that it not only allows for a partnership with the Bank of Ghana but also provides a platform to demonstrate “our future-proof digital currency solution for the central bank”.
“We see CBDC as an infrastructure, digital cash infrastructure, and the number-one goal is to build an eCedi that is fit for purpose, that’s cost-effective and is also going to benefit the Ghanaian,” she stated.
The Africa Money and DeFi Summit West Africa
The summit convened African FinTech and crypto industry leaders alongside international counterparts for networking and business engagements with prominent firms in various sectors, including FinTech, payments, decentralised finance (DeFi), ReFi, crypto, Web3, digital lending, FX, digital identity, cybersecurity, insurtech, mobile money, investors, startups, regulators and other industry stakeholders.