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Zimbabwe’s Central Bank Exploring CBDC, Reiterates Opposition to Cryptocurrencies

Zimbabwe’s central bank, which has expressed its opposition to cryptocurrencies in the past, announced yesterday it is presently exploring the feasibility of rolling out its own central bank digital currency (CBDC). The bank also said its regulatory sandbox continues to garner interest.

CBDC Roadmap

The Zimbabwean central bank, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), has reiterated that it prefers a central bank digital currency (CBDC) to cryptocurrencies, in its latest monetary policy statement. It adds it is now “actively exploring the feasibility of adopting a Zimbabwean CBDC including specific design considerations.”

According to a statement released by John Mangudya, the bank’s governor, the RBZ is already developing a roadmap for its CBDC. The statement reads:

In this context, the Bank is developing a clear roadmap for adopting CBDC, encompassing the feasibility and assessment stage currently taking place, policy design stage based on results of the feasibility study and implementation modalities.

The RBZ added that it will be issuing periodic updates on the progress of the CBDC program.

Fintech Regulatory Sandbox

Meanwhile, in the monetary policy statement, the RBZ also revealed that its fintech regulatory sandbox, which was launched in March 2021, has received “112 registrations on the online portal and a further 31 applications at various stages.” According to the central bank, the software and systems development category alone accounts for 48% of what the bank refers to as registered users.

The payments category’s share of registered users is 18% while the shares banking and the savings and deposit categories are 8% and 1%, respectively. Capital raising, investment management, lending and others all account for the remaining 25%.

The RBZ in the meantime says the sandbox remains open for innovations while guidelines that prospective applicants can use are found on the institution’s website.

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