An executive at Russia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called on the government to conduct cross-border settlements in cryptocurrencies and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
Chamber President Sergei Katyrin sent a letter to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, providing a set of proposals for developing cooperation with African countries, the local state-backed publication TASS reported Thursday.
In the letter, Katyrin reportedly advocated the use of CBDCs and cryptocurrencies for mutual settlement and payments as part of Russia’s move into Africa amid Western sanctions, stating:
“It seems useful to instruct the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, together with the Central Bank, to ensure providing intergovernmental agreements with African states on the use of national currencies and cryptocurrencies in mutual settlements and payments.”
The executive went on to say that it’s important to establish a special export-import bank and a trust fund to support export activities in small and medium-sized businesses in African countries.
The news comes as several countries in Africa are considering cooperation with Russia-linked blockchain networks.
On Monday, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo issued a joint announcement on the national plans to adopt TON, the Telegram-initiated layer-1 proof-of-stake blockchain. The DRC is also reportedly considering launching a new national stablecoin built on top of the TON blockchain.
Though Telegram is not formally involved in the TON blockchain after abandoning the project in May 2020, Telegram co-founder Pavel Durov expressed public support for TON and its possible integrations on the Telegram messenger in late 2021.
“These countries will each undertake a phased transition to adopting cryptocurrency as a central pillar of their economic structures,” the countries said in the announcement.
Russia is still working on a federal crypto bill after prohibiting residents from making payments in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) in early 2021. In mid-February, the Bank of Russia officially launched the digital ruble trial, successfully completing the first CBDC transfers among citizens.
A number of countries in Africa have also been progressing with CBDC development, with countries like Kenya and the Republic of South Africa reporting some progress with CBDCs earlier this year. Last year, Ghana was working to develop offline capabilities for its potential CBDC in a bid to promote its use across all segments of society.