The Assembly of Governors of the Association of African Central Banks (AACB) held its 44th Ordinary Meeting in Banjul, the Gambia.

By: Foday Manneh

The Assembly of Governors of the Association of African Central Banks (AACB) held its 44th Ordinary Meeting in Banjul, the Gambia. The meeting was attended by forty-two (42) African central banks, Governors, representatives from International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the African Union Commission (AUC).

The Assembly of Governors’ forum was officially opened by Adama Barrow, President of the Gambia, who was the chief guest of honor.

The theme is ” digital Innovations and the Future of the Financial Sector: Opportunities and Challenges for Central Banks’ digital currencies.”

Central banks are making efforts to introduce a central bank digital currency that could tap into various blockchains and allow people and companies to settle directly in significant bank money rather than bank deposits. This reduces the concentration of liquidity and credit risk in our payment systems.

Additionally, digital currency promises flexibility and economic growth. Adding to the big picture, it also would be inexpensive, easy, and fast.

President Adama Barrow commended the association for devising an integrated continental payment system. ‘ This was achieved through the establishment of the African inter-regional payment integration task force, working groups, and expert panels tasked to guide the monitoring and implementation of the project.’

President addressing the Banjul meeting of african central banks governors

In his welcoming remarks, the Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia, Buah Saidy says digital innovation is transforming Africa’s financial and economic landscape with the emergence of digital wallets, mobile transfers, blockchain technologies, and payment systems inter-connectivity. He is adding that it has the potential to scale up Africa’s economic development through financial inclusion.

the Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia, Buah Saidy

In improving financial inclusion in the Gambia, Governor Saidy said: “The guided decision by the central bank of the Gambia and the government of the Gambia are to develop a national financial inclusion strategy which comprehensively outlines our strategy to accelerate financial inclusion in the Gambia.”

“The focus is to leverage the existing technologies to expand access to finance to low-income and less privileged and vulnerable segment of the population.”

He added that the strong recovery anticipated from the Covid-19 pandemic by the African Central Banks is now threatened by the adverse effect of the Russia – Ukraine war, which has devastating consequences on their economies.

The Resident Representative of IMF to the Gambia, Mamadou Dioulde Barry, explains that the concept of digital money is not only diverse but also evolving swiftly. It includes publicly issuing central bank digital currency, which is a digital form of fear money fully back by the central bank and intended as a legal tender.

The Resident Representative of IMF to the Gambia, Mamadou Dioulde Barry

“According to a blog posted in 2021 by the Director of the IMF Money and Capital Market Department, electronic accounts are not only growing much more rapidly in low and middle-income countries than in developed economies but also now numerous with Africa, in particular, leading the way,” Barry said.

“Three African countries, namely Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria were among the top ten (10) in the 2021 adoption index at the 5th, 7th, and 8th positions, respectively.”

In October 2021, Nigeria became the first country in Africa and second in the world to issue a Central Bank Digital Currency called the E-naira.

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