Kenya’s central bank says digital currency is not a ‘compelling priority’

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s central bank does not consider issuing a digital currency a “compelling priority”, but it will continue to monitor developments in the region to help future issuance decisions, it said. she said on Friday.

The bank invited the public to comment on the potential introduction of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in February last year, in a change from its initial opposition to crypto-assets, but she decided not to issue any.

“On the global stage, the appeal of CBDCs is fading,” the bank said in a statement. “Implementing a CBDC in Kenya may not be a compelling priority in the short to medium term.”

Central banks that had rushed to issue the currencies now face challenges that hamper implementation, he said, adding that other problems have also arisen.

“Recent instability in the global crypto asset market has heightened concerns and the need for careful consideration of the

innovation and technology risks,” the bank said.

Kenya could rely on existing technologies to solve any payment problem, he added.

The East African nation is renowned for the wide use of mobile money payments.

Safaricom’s M-Pesa platform, which launched in 2007 and dominates mobile payments, has grown from a money transfer service to a full-fledged financial services provider of payments, savings, insurance and micro-loans. The platform has over 30 million active users out of a population of nearly 48 million.

Nigeria has become the first African country to launch a digital currency in 2021.

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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