China Leads Africa’s Digital Currency Race

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With years of public investment and plenty of penetration for its phone makers, China is well placed to establish a digital currency in Africa.

Since the mid 2000s, China has discreetly accumulated significant influence over Africa’s technology stack, close to 50% in the mobile handset and 70% in the mobile network layers.

Now, China can launch its digital currency on top of this stack, running on specially designed chips embedded deep within dozens of popular Chinese phone brands that dominate Africa.

China’s grand plan has three prongs: leverage its collective national and commercial influence, ride on Africa’s mobile payments success story and use its over 50% smartphone market share in Africa to distribute the DCEP. Huawei’s Mate 40, which launched in South Africa in October, is the first smartphone that enables a hardware wallet for the DCEP.

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