As more countries make progress in terms of developing and implementing central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), Ghana’s central bank aims to keep up and complete its research on CBDCs with the goal of financial inclusion, according to Kwame Oppong, the head of fintech and innovation at the Bank of Ghana.
In an interview with Cointelegraph’s Elisha Owusu Akyaw at the Africa Money & DeFi Summit, Oppong laid out the reason behind the West African country’s venture into CBDCs. According to the government official, their main goal at the moment is to finish testing and eventually give their citizens the opportunity to use a "decent form of payment." He explained that:
“I think in terms of CBDC, our goal is to be able to finish testing it. We've seen the results. We're going to look at the study each and every time in the future. But our real reason for doing it is more financial inclusion.”
The official said that in the offline pilots of their "E-Cedi," Ghana's CBDC, at a town called Sefwi Asafo, participants were able to buy products and services from merchants in all kinds of places without any internet connectivity. Oppong believes that another benefit of a CBDC is having the data generated by the participants. The fintech executive explained that this data can help people become eligible for loans if they provide the information to banks.
Oppong also highlighted the potential cost savings if a CBDC is implemented in the country. He said that when CBDCs are implemented, there is a lot of potential in terms of cost reduction because of its instant settlement feature.
Despite the potential benefits of CBDC, the central bank official reiterated that the world is still at the stage where various entities are trying to determine its pros and cons. “I think as a society, we need to determine whether it's useful for us or not,” he said.
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During a panel discussion titled “Stablecoin, Crypto & CBDC, Risks and Opportunities for Ghana,” Oppong also discussed the importance of stablecoins. He noted that in terms of cross-border transactions, stablecoins can play a very important role in finance.
Apart from this, the executive highlighted that one of the most attractive things in crypto is the simplicity of its user experience. He noted that many entities have started to see the significance of studying the blockchain and implementing its use cases.
While there are supporters of CBDCs, there are also those who believe that they are not truly good for the people. The Bitcoin Policy Institute, a think tank based in the United States, recently argued that Bitcoin (BTC) and stablecoins are better alternatives to CBDCs.