The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has released a discussion paper in which it evaluates the feasibility of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in Kenya and seeks public feedback on the technology. The move shows that the country is exploring implementing the technology, but it also raises concerns about the effectiveness of a CBDC in a country where real-time payment systems, such as mobile money, are widely used. “Given M-dominance Pesa’s in the country, I believe the most important question is: What can a CBDC achieve that M-Pesa can’t?” Quartz spoke with Co-Pierre Georg, an associate professor at the University of Cape Town who studies CBDCs.

Kenya has a large and thriving digital money sector as a global pioneer in mobile money with the M-Pesa wallet. As of December 2021, the country has 68.03 million mobile money accounts, the majority of which were M-Pesa. The study, which was published on February 10, addresses emerging digital payment systems such as electronic money, CBDCs, stablecoins, and other digital currencies, as well as the evolution of payments in Kenya and around the world (pdf). In a press release, the bank states, “CBK has been closely monitoring these events globally.”


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