Can central bank digital currencies help tackle poverty?

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February 7, 2023

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Governments worldwide have growing interest in the possibilities of central bank-issued digital money (central bank digital currencies – CBDCs). 

CBDCs are live in a growing number of territories. For example, the Bahamas launched its ‘Sand Dollar’ in 2020; and, during 2021, Eastern Caribbean nations began to roll out ‘DCash’; and Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, launched its ‘eNaira’. Meanwhile China is well progressed with its rollout of the e-CNY or digital yuan. Other major authorities and jurisdictions, for example the European Central Bank (for a potential eurozone digital euro), the US Federal Reserve (for a potential digital dollar) and the Bank of England (digital pound) are treading more cautiously: investigating, consulting and, in an increasing number of cases, experimenting – but yet to commit to full issuance.

Financial inclusion is one motivation to issue a CBDC. But this reason is typically given significantly greater prominence in developing countries with large unbanked populations. In contrast, in advanced economies interest appears driven mainly by payments efficiency and financial stability considerations. Nonetheless, financial inclusion is a major challenge for all governments, as is recognised in most authorities’ CBDC pronouncements: for example, the Bank of England’s five ‘core principles’ for CBDC include that financial inclusion should be a prominent consideration in a potential digital pound’s design.

This Global Government Fintech webinar seeks to ask questions including:

  • How can CBDCs help authorities to help with financial inclusion?
  • What challenges do authorities face in designing and using a CBDC to help with financial inclusion?
  • What advantages and disadvantages do CBDCs offer compared to other government payment disbursement tools, such as cash and pre-paid cards (and why)?
  • How important are CBDC design technology choices to realising the potential benefits?


Public servants can register here for free to attend this webinar


USA/Canada Eastern Time (EST): 09:30 – 10:45
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT): 14:30 – 15:45
Central European Time (CET): 15:30 – 16:45
Eastern European Time (EET): 16:30 – 17:45
Singapore Time (SGT): 22:30 – 23:45
Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST): 01:30 – 02:45


Sharmyn Powell, Chief Risk Officer, Office of Corporate Strategy and Risk Management Chairperson, Fintech Working Group, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, St Kitts

Biography to follow.

Webinar chair: Ian Hall, Editor, Global Government Fintech

Ian is editor of Global Government Fintech and also writes for media including City AM and #DisruptionBanking. He is former UK director for the pan-European media network Euractiv (2011-2018), editor of Public Affairs News (2007-2011) and news editor of PR Week (2000-2007). He was shortlisted for ‘Editor of the Year’ at the British Society of Magazine Editors (BSME) Awards in 2010. He began his career in Bulgaria at English-language weekly the Sofia Echo, with his year in the Balkans (1998-1999) sandwiched between a BA in Economics and MA in Urban & Regional Change in Europe (both from Durham University).