Ghana is advancing in the design of its Central Bank Digital Currency (MNBC), with an e-cedi whose adoption would benefit from a functionality to perform offline transactions.
Ghana’s future digital currency: offline use of e-cedi
According to a Bloomberg article from October 18, 2021, Bank of Ghana (BoG) fintech and innovation manager Kwame Oppong spoke at the country’s economic forum on the same day that the possibility of carrying out offline transactions with the future digital currency of the central bank, e-cedi, using smart cards . These are a credit card with a chip that allows users to make transactions using a prepaid balance .
Ghana is working to make e-cedi, the digital form of its currency, available to offline users https://t.co/iMMnxd0B6v— Bloomberg (@business) October 18, 2021
The functionality of the offline e-cedi aims to provide financial services to Ghanaians who do not have a bank account and internet connection . World Bank statistics in 2019 indicated that 84% of the Ghanaian population had access to electricity, and 53% could access the internet .
In July 2021, Ghana’s Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia told the 5th International Trade and Finance Conference that the adoption of digital currencies could boost trade in Africa. August 2021, the BoG announced a collaboration with the German finance company, Giesecke + Devrient, to pilot its MNBC .
Central bank digital currencies: G7 rules as guiding principles?
On October 20, 2021, G7 financial leaders meet in Washington to discuss MNBCs. They adopted 13 public policy principles on the implementation of future digital currencies . The deployment of these must respect rigorous standards. A new MNBC must not affect the ability of the central bank to ensure the financial stability of the country .
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G7 finance ministers and central bankers at the conference highlight the benefits of international coordination and cooperation on MNBC issues :
“Strong international coordination and cooperation on these issues helps to ensure that public and private sector innovation will deliver domestic and cross-border benefits while being safe for users and the broader financial system. “
An e-cedi that can work offline would certainly improve financial inclusion in a country where nearly half of the population does not have an internet connection, not to mention those excluded from the traditional financial system. An MNBC like e-cedi, however, will not solve the inflation problem faced by fiats. The digital bolivar could also serve as a textbook case on this subject.