Cryptocurrency will be able to supplement mobile money in Africa if lenders can convince regulators it’s worth it, according to the head of Kenya’s biggest lender, Bloomberg reported Tuesday (May 17).
That might be an uphill battle, as several central banks in Africa don’t want crypto trading to go on — some of them have made it illegal.
There’s one exception in the Central African Republic, the only country to have adopted the digital assets, making Bitcoin an official currency recently, in the same mode as El Salvador did last year.
The South African Reserve Bank is also forming rules so investors can be protected.
James Mwangi, Equity Group Holdings CEO, said mobile money transactions in Kenya get more usage than hard currency. In keeping with that, he said using new tech can help Africa become more competitive, due to the fact that it lacks legacy systems.
“Africa will benefit substantially from leapfrogging on the fourth industrial technologies, and cryptocurrency is one of them,” Mwangi said, according to the report. “Cryptocurrency can as well complement the mobile money wallet, but essentially, we need to talk to the regulators.”
See also: Central African Republic, Like El Salvador, May Soon Regret Adopting Bitcoin
The Central African Republic’s adopting of Bitcoin could be a mistake, PYMNTS wrote. The country legalized the use of cryptocurrency recently.
The new law places the impoverished nation “on the map of the world’s boldest and most visionary countries,” Obed Namsio, chief of staff to President Faustin Archange Touadera, said in a statement.
He said adopting Bitcoin as official money could “open up new opportunities.”
That said, El Salvador has been having a rough go of it, as the experiment has seen widespread opposition and not much usage by people. And organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have opposed it, holding back a badly needed $1.3 billion loan to refinance debt.
And ratings agencies like Fitch and Moody’s have cut the country’s credit rating.
There was also a $1 billion Bitcoin-backed bond issue that has been delayed indefinitely.

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