Head of Digital and Inclusive Banking at CalBank, Martha Acquaye, says the Central Bank Digital Currency (eCedi) will revolutionise Ghana’s payment and settlement system by making markets more diverse and competitive.
According to her, the introduction of the eCedi will bring about a more effective means of settlement by reducing, if not completely clearing, the stress associated with the country’s payment and settlement system.
“This is because the settlement will be instant. You’ve already acquired the e-value sitting with the central bank; so, when bank ‘A’ subscriber uses it and bank ‘B’ subscriber also does the same…there’s a direct settlement and we are going to spend less time reconciling as banks and stakeholders.”
She said this during mobile money (MoMo) stakeholder forum in Accra organised by MTN Ghana, themed ‘Assessing the Impact of the Central Bank’s Digital Currency on the Future of Digital Payments’ last Wednesday.
Ms. Acquaye further stressed: “We won’t be counting so many notes. By the click of a button you will have a virtual currency in your wallet, making the distribution of cash faster. It is going to create convenience for our customers, and as a result there’s going to be a reduced risk for them in terms of carrying cash from banking halls or different agent outlets to their destinations”.
The Bank of Ghana last year partnered with Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) to pilot a general purpose Central Bank Digital Currency (retail CBDC). G+D is provider of the technology as well as developer of the solution adapted to Ghana’s requirements, resulting in piloting an offline version of the eCedi to be used for consecutive payments in areas yet to be connected to digital and Internet infrastructure in July this year.
The piloting is being carried out at Sefwi Asafo in the Western North Region, where select users in that community have been using it for daily purchases such as food, groceries and drinks.
Ms. Acquaye, whose firm has been part of the piloting, said the banks are ready for full enrolment of the innovation that she said will drive financial inclusion across the country.
“It is worth noting that provisions have been made for customers to not only use the digital currency online but offline as well…We believe strongly that we were the right party for the pilot. We have deployed the eCedi on our App. The central bank has done a good job. The pilot has been a success,” she added.
eCedi to serve as fulcrum for digital financial inclusion
On his part, the Assistant Director-Fintech Promotion and Innovation at the Bank of Ghana, Clarence Blay, said the eCedi will be a game-changer; serving as the fulcrum of the country’s efforts to build a robust environment for efficiently delivering inclusive digital financial services to Ghanaians.
For him, digitalisation is critical to engendering financial inclusion in the country; and the eCedi would ensure this.
The digital cedi, or ‘eCedi’, is intended to complement and serve as a digital alternative to physical cash, thus driving the Ghanaian cashlite agenda through promotion of diverse digital payments while ensuring a secure and robust payment infrastructure in Ghana.
It also aims to facilitate payments without a bank account, contract or smartphone, and by so doing boost the use of digital services and financial inclusion among all demographic groups.