Ghana is working to develop offline capabilities for its forthcoming central bank digital currency (CBDC) in a bid to promote its use across all segments of Ghanaian society.
According to a Monday report from Bloomberg, Kwame Oppong, head of fintech and innovation at the Bank of Ghana (BoG), revealed that the country’s digital currency “e-cedi” will support offline transactions during the Ghana Economic Forum on Monday.
Oppong emphasized that offline functionality will allow Ghanaians who lack reliable access to electricity and internet connectivity to embrace the country’s CBDC, stating:
“The e-cedi would also be capable of being used in an offline environment through some smart cards.”
A smart card is a plastic credit card-sized card with a chip that allows its user to transact using a pre-loaded balance. A similar system has been trialed by Oxfam to facilitate payments using the decentralized stablecoin Dai to provide relief from environmental disasters.
According to World Bank data published in 2019, 84% of Ghanaians then had stable access to electricity, while just 53% were connected to the internet.
In August, the BoG announced it had partnered with German financial firm Giesecke+Devrient to pilot a retail CBDC in Ghana.
The announcement came just one month after Ghanaian Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia advocated for African governments to embrace digital currencies as means to bolster trade across the continent during the Fifth Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference in July.
Local adoption of decentralized cryptocurrencies is also on the rise, with analytics firm Chainalysis reporting that Africa’s cryptocurrency market has grown by more than 1,200% since 2020 as of last month.