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Monday, Jan 27th

Mauritius plans to issue digital currency

Mauritius plans to issue digital currency

The Bank of Mauritius is considering introducing a digital currency according to its governor Yandraduth Googoolye.

Googoolye said he has already started engaging with some international institutions about the currency to be used for retail payments – similar to Tunisia's issuance of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Defined by the Bank of International Settlement (BIS), the bank for central banks, as new variants of central bank liability denominated in an existing unit of account, which serves both as a medium of exchange and a store of value, CBDCs are based on four key properties of money: issuer, form, accessibility and technology.

The three variants are "general purpose/account-based" i.e. an account at the central bank for the general public; "general purpose/token-based" i.e. a type of "digital cash" issued by the central bank for the general public; and "wholesale/token- or value-based" i.e. a restricted-access digital token for wholesale settlements (eg interbank payments, or securities settlement).

The announcement related to the introduction of a local currency did not come as a surprise to Suyash Sumaroo, co-founder of Horizon Africa, a blockchain start-up in Mauritius.

"Personally, I think that during the last 2-3 years, there has been a lot of focus on FinTech and blockchain technology from the Mauritian government and the private sector," Sumaroo said. "I believe that there will be more large-scale projects of this nature which will help the country and region develop."

The island nation has seen various FinTech and blockchain-related developments with government backing in recent times. They range from introducing regulatory measures to ease its ascendance to be a FinTech hub to sandbox legislation for blockchain technology companies to develop and commercialise applications.

Michal Szymanski ,chief executive officer at Mauritius Africa Fintech Hub, cherishes the fact that the disclosure was "made public" adding "In other words, we are moving away from talking about it to actioning it."

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