Unbanked

BIS Innovation Hub

BIS & FinTech

The BIS has been active in CBDC reporting and the Innovation Hub setup by the BIS is active in research led by central banks. 

There are several centres of this hub in London, Hong Kong, Stockholm, Switzerland, and Singapore.

The Nordic Centre involves co-operation between centrals banks of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland – all of these have strong CBDC interests.

Details of the program were published by the BIS including details of the mCBDC bridge and multi-CBDCs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The BIS Innovation Hub’s work programme is currently focused on six areas: suptech and regtech; next generation financial market infrastructures; central bank digital currencies; open finance; cyber security; and green finance.” BIS   

 

BEAC and CBDCs

The time line for the strategy development will allow for leveraging and building on the progress which is expected to be made under Subcomponent 2.1; hence, it will look at specific aspects relating to the promotion of digital financial services, beyond payments. Subcomponent 2.2.2. Innovative Pilots to Promote Uptake of Financial Services and Products.”  World Bank

Digital Payments

The BEAC is the Bank of Central African States and provides monetary policy to – Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo. 

The official currency is the Central African CFA Franc which was fixed to the French Franc, and today to the Euro. 

The member countries have high levels of unbanked people, and one objective set out by the BEAC with the World Bank and the AFI is to digitize payments. 

There is extensive corruption in West Africa, and the timeline to integrate digital services will take some time and a lot of work.

There are no specific CBDCs timelines. When the Euro itself is digital then these integrations will be far simpler.

The AFI provides a platform for discussions for digital services.

 

 

 

 

Tajikistan and CBDCs

“Digitization of the national economy, support for business, attraction of national capital to economic sectors, adoption of a new tax code in a new edition with the participation of the private sector, cancellation of the taxes for the farmers, strengthening the role of women in society, increasing attention to youth generation among the projects intended for the following year.” President

Fantom & e-Government

The big news for Tajikistan is that Fantom agreed to provide blockchain services to create an e-Government with a view to CBDCs.

The President addressed this matter and clearly digitization is a top priority.

Tajikistan has a large income from remittances and the benefits of CBDCs would be keenly felt as already described for Somalia and others.

The currency is pegged to the Russian Ruble. 

 

Lebanon and CBDCs

CBDC Working Group 


The Lebanese Pound is pegged to the USD. Lebanon has a very high income from remittances which makes a change to a fully digital system attractive.

The BDL was involved in the Arab Financial Inclusion day in 2019. This confirms the BDL’s interest in addressing financial inclusion in Lebanon, a key aspect of CBDCs and digitization generally.

Lebanon has been building a National Payment System.

Lebanon has made significant steps towards building an advanced and secure payment system that abides by International standards and best practices, including the Principles of Financial Market Infrastructures (PFMIs).

Lebanon has faced hard economic conditions with increasing debt, and a declining foreigh reserves basis and stated in publication Number 317.

net total public debt rose in October 2020 by LBP 383 billion, reaching LBP 128,666 billion at the end of the month.     

The NNA has reported that a working group for CBDC will be created under a Regtech framework.

 

 

 

Iraq & CBDCs

“Iraq’s population of 40 million people is largely cash-driven, with 99.8 percent of its $122 billion personal consumption expenditure made in cash in 2019.” Mastercard

Mastercard

The process of digitization is progressing in Iraq. It is a country dominated by cash usage (99 percent in 2019). There is 70 percent smartphone penetration.

Mastercard reports a contract with the CBI (Central Bank of Iraq) to provide digital services in Iraq. One of the motives is to improve financial inclusion.

CBDCs are not really expected at this time due to the high cash adoption, and limited digital payment infrastructure. But this could change as much of the Middle East prioritises financial inclusion.

The IQD is pegged to the USD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guatemala & CBDCs

CBDC

  • DLT Based
  • Research Subject
  • Cost Benefits
  • Liquidity Issues

Digital Currencies


Important Subject

Guatemala is situated in Central America. It has a high value of remittances (41 percent of national income) as people send money from overseas (USA and Mexico) – digital infrastructure is starting to alleviate the complex nature of remittances.

The USA named Guatemala as a country which would benefit from a digital infrastructure improvement, and Mastercard is committed to making getting more of their services operational in Guatemala.

The unbanked population in Guatemala is estimated to be about 50 percent.

The central bank has recognised the significance of CBDCs in a document discussing how DLTs would be used –

Introducing a CBDC probably involves more than a narrow and technical judgment on the efficiency of the payment system, although it is very important, so it is clear that they have ideas to do. The issue of digital currencies constitutes an important part of the banks’ research agenda.

  

 

Cape Verde and CBDCs

Cape Verdean Escudo (CVE)


Cape Verde is a small economy of about 2 billion USD (GDP). Mobile phone adoption is 121 phones per 100 people so that is a good sign, and 75% of people have access to banking.

SWIFT was implemented in 2018 for the first time; and the central bank has recognised the need for digitization to lower costs.

Hence the interest exists for digitization and when that is done more fully, costs may be lowered.

 

 

Cuba and CBDCs

Cuban Currencies

The Central Bank of Cuba controls monetary policy. The country is subject to sanctions and the entire currency situation is confused and in turmoil.

There were officially two currencies (CUC and the CUP) with the CUC used only in Cuba and pegged to the USD. The CUC was withdrawn in early 2021 and MLC stores using cards for USD purchases were the main way to access USD values.

Financial inclusion is a priority for the central bank. The poverty imposed by the current system is understood and there is an effort to implement reform. 

Mobile penetration rates are just over 50%. That is a good sign of at least people being able to access digital currency.

“Studies on financial inclusion at the international level show that currently it is necessary to achieve more inclusive banking systems, a purpose that Cuba has in its economic and social development policy until 2030, hence the importance of diagnosing the real situation of Financial inclusion in the country, which allows designing future strategies from banking institutions, contributing to the guarantee of social equity and sustainable development.” Central Bank of Cuba

   

Aruba – CBDCs

Aruba and Digital Payments


Aruba is an island economy. Island economies use a of migrant workers and remittances are common (and very expensive). This makes a good use case for CBDCs. 

Aruba was hit hard by Covid-19 with a 25 percent decline in the GDP – this is because the Aruba is dependent tourism of income.

The IMF identified digital infrastructure reform as key to recovery in Aruba. 

The central bank sees digitization as critical to financial inclusion in Aruba. Financial inclusion is 92 percent and that is mainly for current accounts. The savings account figure is far lower. Hence the inclusion problem is seen not in access to transactions but to savings. There was recently a big shift to online payments and mobile payments.

The actual economy has seen a decline in GDP per capita since 2000. Consumer confidence is low and a move to mobile payments is evident

Like many nations the case for CBDC is well made out in Aruba, accelerated by Covid-19 and the economic impact. 

 

 

 

 

Bank of Jordan & CBDCs

Financial Inclusion 


Jordan has a program – National Financial Inclusion Program – aimed at increasing financial inclusion numbers. The target of 50 percent was reached in 2020.

Financial inclusion is a key element of CBDCs considerations. The CBJ also is working on the G2P (government to person) payments which is part of a broader digital payment infrastructure. 

The National Aid Fund (NAF) is shifting physical cash payments to wallets (mobile) which is part of a more general digital framework infrastructure in Jordan. 

JoMoPay now operates in Jordan. The interoperability question between wallets and e-money; and bank accounts is being addressed.

The CBJ has been promoting e-wallets and now 1.2 million in Jordan have them.

Before CBDC can be addressed more in Jordan, some of the core infrastructure for wallets, digitization, and trust in the population will have to be worked out. Trust is a key factor in any currency, and the Jordanian population should feel comfortable with e-wallets and later CBDCs for a CBDC plan to work.