Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) are slowly but steadily gaining traction with governments across the world. In Africa, a handful of governments are already exploring the possibility and benefits of issuing a CBDC. The continent’s biggest country – Nigeria- has already launched its own CBDC called the e-naira, creating a path for other countries in the continent to follow. Other countries have gone about things differently; the Central African Republic (CAR) adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender amid several aversions and launched its own indigenous cryptocurrency called Sango coin.
The Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, has joined the list of African countries that are exploring the possibility, use, and benefits of a CBDC. The country’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE) mentioned that it German technology group Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) has been appointed to research and explore the possibilities of a digital Lilangeni to complement bank notes.
The project will entail a design concept and take factors such as security, accessibility, governance, interoperability, and programmability of the potential CBDC into consideration. The research to be conducted by Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) will help Eswatini’s apex bank to make informed decisions and reach a conclusion on whether to adopt or not adopt a CBDC, as well as how to issue it if it goes with the former.
The project comes after the completion of the first phase of a 2020 CBDC Diagnostic study done by the CBE. The apex bank said that this study “presented the strongest and direct opportunity for the adoption of a digital currency in Eswatini.”
G+D recently helped Ghana to pilot a retail CBDC, making it the second country after Nigeria to run such a trial. Speaking on the development and partnership with G+D, the CBE’s governor, Dr. Phil Mnisi said that “The Central Bank of Eswatini is delighted to have engaged G+D as a technical consultant to walk with us in our journey as we explore and formulate the foundational policy considerations and use cases of a localized CBDC. We are confident that G+D’s technological expertise and their strong regional presence in our continent will allow us to realize all possible advantages of a Digital Lilangeni and ensure we’re fully equipped to issue a CBDC in the future.”