Ghana is developing autonomous features for its future Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in an effort to expand its use across all segments of Ghanaian society.
According to a report released by Bloomberg on Monday, Kwame Oppong, head of financial technology and innovation at Bank of Ghana (BoG), said the country’s digital currency, e-cedi, will support offline transactions during the Ghana Economic Forum on Monday.
Obong stressed that the disabled features would allow Ghanaians who lack reliable access to electricity and the Internet to benefit from the country’s CBDC, stating:
“E-cedi can also be used offline with some smart cards.”
A smart card is a credit card-sized plastic card with a chip that allows the user to make purchases with a pre-loaded balance. Oxfam experimented with a similar system to facilitate payments using the Dai decentralized stablecoin for environmental disaster relief.
According to World Bank data released in 2019, 84% of Ghanaians had stable access to electricity, while only 53% were connected to the Internet.
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In August, BoG announced that it had partnered with German financial firm Giesecke + Devrient to test CBDC in Ghana.
The announcement came just a month after Ghana’s Vice President Mahamudo Baumiya urged African governments to use digital currencies as a way to increase trade across the continent during Ghana’s International Trade and Finance Conference in July.
Local adoption of decentralized cryptocurrencies is also on the rise, with market research firm Chainalysis reporting that the cryptocurrency market in Africa has grown more than 1200% since 2020 compared to last month.