CBK governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge told reporters during Georgetown’s DC Fintech week that:
““We [the CBK] are already having discussions with other global players, in various ways, around the introduction of Central Bank Digital Currencies. The push comes as a result of mushrooming of private cryptocurrencies and we are already feeling left out and need to create our own space.”
From Dr. Njoroge’s perspective, the central bank needs to keep a keen eye on the “niche” that private sector cryptocurrencies are vying for. The CBK governor singled out money laundering and the financing of illicit activities as a central concern for the institution. However, he seemed less convinced that the global trend is toward a truly cashless society, characterizing developments as tending to merely a “less-cash” environment.
Dr. Njoroge’s explicit reference to ongoing global research into how a CBDC could, in principle, be made available to the general public, appeared to position central bank-mandated digital currency in explicit competition with decentralized coins.
The CBK governor also expressed a rather dismissive opinion of Bitcoin (BTC), characterizing it as merely a tool for speculation. While he finds the coin’s underlying technology impressive, he argued it was still an invention seeking out a problem to solve.
With cryptocurrency trading on the rise on the African continent, local industry entrepreneurs are readying themselves — with cautious optimism — for the likely rollout of more robust regulation. Stephany Zoo of Kenya-based exchange Bitpesa told Cointelegraph in Sept. 2020 that while there’s a risk of heavy-handed intervention stifling intervention, better integration with traditional financial infrastructure could equally be a boost for the crypto space.