Participants of eCedi pilot positive about system- First Deputy Governor

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Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari - Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana
Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari - Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana

Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari, the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, says a significant percentage of participants involved in the pilot of the eCedi are positive about the system based on their experience of using it.

Ghana began piloting a retail central bank digital currency, exploring both an online and an offline version of the eCedi in 2022.

He said in designing the eCedi project, the bank decided to carry out pilots in three locations: the capital of Accra, the town of Tarkwa, and the village of Sefwi Asafo.

Dr Opoku-Afari made this known in the findings at

the Payments Canada Summit held in Toronto from May 3 to May 5, 2023

He said while the first two locations explored several use cases for online payments, Sefwi Asafo saw the offline experiment.

“Ghana has been aggressively pursuing a financial sector digitisation programme for several years as it seeks to boost financial inclusion and wider economic growth,” he added.

The Deputy Governor said any currency had to work for all Ghanaians, no matter where they were located and while Ghana had seen the percentage of people with formal bank accounts soar in the last decade, nearly a third of the population was still unbanked.

Dr Opoku-Afari said the bank also opted for a token-based, rather than account-based, system minting the eCedi and then distributing it via commercial players, one mobile money provider, two banks and two Payment Service Providers.

“This approach, rather than the use of a central bank app, was chosen because the goal was to enable the ecosystem,” Dr. Opoku-Afari said.

He said the online pilots saw participants use existing banking apps and involved P2P, wallet-to-bank, and merchant and bill payments.

He said in contrast, the offline experiment saw the eCedi distributed via smart card and concentrated on merchant payments and was run purely by the Bank without commercial players.

The Deputy Governor said the reasons for the focus on merchant payments was that, as of 2017, 99 per cent of these transactions were still carried out in cash.

Dr. Opoku-Afari said the Bank wanted to test whether the currency could work for consecutive offline payments; would the target users be able to use it; and would they want to use it.

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