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Several African Countries Are Looking at Incorporating Crypto

African countries are embracing central bank digital currencies. In what seems like sudden demand, central banks across the continent are rushing to have their version of a digital currency. It’s intriguing to watch, considering even though the continent is a hotspot of crypto trading, regulators have been less than moved.

Nigeria is at the forefront — having already activated a digital version of the Naira — while other countries are losing no time in pursuit.

CBDCs, short for central bank digital currencies, are digital currencies issued and regulated by central or state banks. CBDCs attempt to mimic the best of cryptocurrencies — fast transaction speeds, high-level security, and cheaper fees.



President Muhammad Buhari announced the rollout of Nigeria’s CBDC — dubbed the eNaira, October. The West African country joins the rank of countries that have implemented a CBDC, including the European Union, China, Sweden, and the Bahamas.

The eNaira is designed to complement physical Naira, and will feature tight access controls implemented by the central bank of Nigeria. eNaira is both a medium of exchange and an investment asset.

At the launch, at least 500 million eNaira (worth $1.21 million) had been minted. The eNaira uses blockchain tech just like Bitcoin or Ethereum. The eNaira wallet allows you to send and receive money and is downloadable from Google and Apple app stores. You can transfer money at virtually zero cost to any eNaira wallet in the world.

Fintech company Bitt is responsible for developing the currency, which the central bank of Nigeria has assured citizens is the “Same Naira, More Possibilities.”

It’s fair to say the move was unexpected, given the country’s implacable attitude towards cryptocurrency, which led to a ban. This change of gears heralds a new future for finance in the country.

South Africa

South Africa has the largest economy and the most sophisticated financial system in the continent, and anybody would be curious about the state of crypto in the country. It turns out South Africa is actually accommodative towards the industry, a major departure from other countries’ approaches.

Although it doesn’t recognize it as legal tender, the country’s Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) stance on crypto is that it’s neither “explicitly hostile nor explicitly friendly.”

It’s of little surprise then that the country is looking into a CBDC. South Africa is one of the countries part of Project Dunbar, an initiative by Basel-based Bank of International Settlements. Project Dunbar will test the use of CBDCs for international settlements with the central banks of South Africa, Singapore, Australia and Malaysia.

The project will feature multi-CBDC platforms that allow financial institutions to transact in a peer-to-peer manner. This will remove the need for intermediaries and vastly reduce transaction costs and time.


CBDC proponents have been watching Ghana since 2019 after the central bank governor Ernest Addison expressed interest in a digital cedi. At the time, Addison acknowledged the rapid pace at which events unfolded in finance.

He also noted the blossoming mobile sector in the country. Addison stated the desire to harness this growth by introducing digital money backed 1:1 by cedi.

This October, Bloomberg reported, not only was the e-cedi set to pilot, but the bank also wanted to make it available for offline users. Head of fintech and innovation Kwame Oppong said the currency would work offline — without the need for power or connectivity — via the use of smart cards.

Opong observed that one factor hindering people from bank services is the “availability and connectivity and power.” He hopes that an offline e-cedi will help solve this problem.

In June, Governor Addison said the Bank of Ghana was in the “advanced” stages of unveiling e-cedi. In a press conference, he indicated the currency would be rolled out to a few people at first. Depending on how it works, the bank would decide if the CBDC is ready to go or needs some tweaking.


Tanzania plans to introduce its own CBDC, per Bloomberg. And that decision came about due to the fear of missing out (FOMO). Central bank governor Florens Luoga said:” To ensure our country is not left behind, in the adoption of central bank digital currencies, the bank of Tanzania has already begun preparations to have its own CBDC.”

This follows a directive by President Samia Suluhu issued to the central bank in June to prepare for cryptocurrency adoption. Suluhu acknowledged the rise of the finance niche, saying, “We have witnessed the emergence of a new journey through the internet” — in remarks translated from Swahili.

However, the new developments do not signal Tanzania’s embrace of cryptocurrencies anytime soon. In his statement, Luoga cautioned citizens to remain wary. Tanzania has no regulatory stance about crypto, but the central bank advises citizens to exercise caution when dealing with them.


Zimbabwe had to be on this list, if just for its chequered financial history. The Southeast African country has been on the global radar for its failed financial system. The bottom fell out of Zimbabwe’s financial system due to endless political instability and what international observers have termed as years of mismanagement by the ruling party.

In Zimbabwe, inflation—which is hyperinflation, is one for the books. In mid 2008, hyperinflation had surged to 79,600,000,000% per month. The Zimbabwean dollar has been rendered practically worthless with such an economic meltdown. For that reason, the country has been forced to adopt other currencies, including the US dollar and recently, Bitcoin.

Now, it seems the country is looking for a solution that has a semblance of permanence. Minister for Information Monica Mutsvangwa revealed the government is seriously mulling the possibility of a CBDC. To clarify things, the ministry of information has been categorical that Zimbabwe is not chasing after a cryptocurrency but a CBDC.

“Like most countries in the world, the Government of Zimbabwe, through its Financial Technology Group, is studying Central Bank Digital Currency as opposed to cryptocurrencies, bitcoins or any form of derivatives,” Mutsvangwa was quoted as saying.

Final Thoughts

The race to develop CBDCs by African countries signifies the cryptocurrency sweeping wind of change across finance. While African regulators have resisted crypto, it seems as though ambivalence is not a choice anymore.

But it’s not just about governments. CBDCs will promote financial inclusion since users do not need a bank account. Also, financial services such as credit and lending are easier to access than before. CBDCs have just begun to make a mark on Africa. It will be interesting how that continues to play out.

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Hope Mutie

About the Author

Hope Mutie

Hope Mutie is a professional writer and editor whose interests include fintech, cryptocurrency, and blockchain. She engages with crypto audiences by curating content that’s fun-to-read, educational, and offers unmatched value. Hope is part of the brilliant team at Go Full Crypto – a podcast and service that enables your transition into crypto.

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