The Bank of Ghana has announced a central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot program with German securities firm Giesecke+Devrient.
According to an official press release from the Bank of Ghana, it plans to pilot a general-purpose central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the nation. The bank has partnered with German company Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) to utilize its CBDC solution named Filia.
G+D’s Filia solution “combines the advantages of today’s cash with the needs of users in an increasingly digitized world,“ and “guarantees outstanding security, high availability, and resilience, as well as the ability to protect user data while complying with regulatory requirements.”
G+D originally focused on currency and securities printing but has been using its Filia solution to help CBDC programs in places like Thailand. The firm will provide Ghana with all the technology needed and will develop a custom solution based on the local prerequisites. The trial phase will include banks, payment services, merchants, consumers, and relevant stakeholders and will be a precursor to the launch of the e-Cedi.
Ghana says that the project is just one phase of the “Digital Ghana Agenda,” which is moving the country towards the total digitization of the 30 million inhabitants and all government services. Eventually, the e-Cedi will serve to compliment physical cash as a digital alternative. The initiative is geared towards helping those without bank accounts or smartphones. Ghana hopes that this will help drive the Ghanaian cash lite agenda via promoting digital payments while also creating a secure payment infrastructure.
CBDC pilot program specifics
The press release says that the project will be broken up into three separate phases: design, implementation, and pilot. The design phase will see all the framework parameters for the pilot will be laid out and defined. “These include economic, regulatory, and technical requirements of the country as well as the definition of the parameters for the test phase.” The second phase, implementation, would see G+D’s solution be put to work in adapting the project specifically for Ghana’s regulations.
In the final ‘pilot‘ phase, a diverse user group containing many different demographics will be called upon to test the solution in the real world using different platforms, such as mobile or smart cards. During the pilot, a study will be run on the acceptance of the CBDC from the end-users along with keeping tabs on the IT security of the whole infrastructure. Additionally, the impact on payment systems and legal implications will be researched.
According to the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest K. Y. Addison, “[a] CBDC presents a great opportunity to build a robust, inclusive, competitive and sustainable financial sector, led by the Central Bank. From all indications, the concept has a significant role to play in the future of financial service delivery globally. This project is a significant step towards positioning Ghana to take full advantage of this emerging concept.”
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