• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Rwanda plans digital currency for 2026

Rwanda plans digital currency for 2026

Soraya Hakuziyaremye, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Rwanda, has said the country is on track to launch its own Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) within the next two years.

In an interview with the New Times, she said the initiative is spearheaded by the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) and aims to roll out in 2026. It aims to boost financial inclusion and modernise Rwanda’s payment system.

“This digital currency promises Rwandans a secure, free, and convenient alternative to cash. It is also expected to bring more people into the formal financial sector, particularly the unbanked population,” she said.

Hakuziyaremye emphasised the project’s urgency, citing the growing trend of CBDCs in Africa, with neighbouring countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa already exploring the technology. Rwanda’s major trading partners are also testing or adopting digital currencies, further driving the need to keep pace.

The development of the CBDC follows a feasibility study launched in May 2024, which identified potential benefits and challenges. Public consultations were held to address concerns such as data privacy, system stability, and potential disruption to the existing financial system.

During the interview, she disclosed that a proof-of-concept phase will commence shortly, testing the technology, design, and transaction speed on a small scale to ensure a smooth rollout.

“This will be followed by a six-month international pilot focused on cross-border payments. And the digital currency will be tested by individuals and businesses before a wider launch,” Hakuziyaremye added.