Gifty Annor-Sika Asantewah, a financial analyst and advisor to Geldex Invest, has bemoaned the slow progress of work on the implementation of Ghana’s electronic currency- the e-Cedi. She nonetheless, admitted there’s hope for the future despite the current setbacks.
According to the analyst, Ghana’s digital currency is yet to gain the envisaged traction after several months of piloting it. Gifty Annor-Sika Asantewah made this known in an exclusive interview with the Vaultz News.
“The slow progress of implementation and adoption of the e-Cedi is worrying because its full implementation comes with great benefits. When countries come on board and create their own digital currencies, then we will be able to have faster exchange of currencies and might consequently be able to boost cross-border trade at a much lower cost.
“The e-Cedi, if fully implemented would support the digital economy, improve economic activities, simplify and facilitate cross-border payments and trade, ensure the inclusion of excluded people in the financial system, improve the effectiveness of monetary policies, ease tax remittance and collection to support economic growth and ease in administering strategic social interventions to support Ghanaians. We are missing on all these benefits and that’s why I’m deeply concerned about the progress of work so far.”Gifty Annor-Sika Asantewah
Ms Annor-Sika, moreover, stated that the e-Cedi would eliminate restrictions on accessibility to foreign currencies, thereby boosting foreign payments and trade, and lead to improved visibility of transactions for financial institutions. She also added that it would reduce pressure on demand for foreign currency, improve the cedi’s value, while the forces of demand and supply would hardly affect exchange rate which makes a case for the frequent depreciation of the cedi.
Challenges with Ghana’s Economic Structure
The analyst attributed the slow implementation of the e-Cedi to a number of challenges which she believed to be majorly embedded in Ghana’s structural economic and environmental problems. Some of the reasons given include: a lack of efficient awareness, limited knowledge of digital currency operations. “But the fact is that the Bank of Ghana and the government are not tackling these problems, meanwhile they are basic to the full implementation of the e-Cedi”.
“The Ghanaian economy is significantly unstructured and informal. So, anything that requires structure, regulation and order like the e-Cedi may become unpopular with the people.”Gifty Annor-Sika Asantewah
However the challenges and delay, the analyst is optimistic that the e-Cedi would be adopted by every Ghanaian in the near future. Expressing hope for the future, Ms Annor-Sika hinged her optimism on the introduction of the offline e-Cedi usage, which means the service can be available even in areas without internet connection.
Meanwhile, Ghana, like South Africa, is now piloting the digital currency, taking the country a step closer to rolling out central bank-backed e-money, after Nigeria successfully launched the continent’s first digital currency, the eNaira, in October 2021, heating up the race to roll out e-cash on the continent.
In May 2022, Ghana started testing an offline version of the e-Cedi in Sefwi Asafo, a small town in the Western-North Region, using a contactless smart card.
The e-Cedi is a retail Central Bank digital currency that can be used for payments between individuals and merchants through a digital wallet application. Ms Annor-Sika, thus, called on the Central Bank to make financial inclusion as its top objective in order to quickly implement the e-Cedi to the benefit of the country and Ghanaians as a whole.