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Bank of Central African States cautions against cryptocurrency investment

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist

The Governor of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) Abbas Mahamat Tolli has called on citizens of countries affiliated to Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), including Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, to avoid investing in cryptocurrencies.

Speaking after a meeting of the Central Bank’s monetary policy committee in Chad on 18 November, Tolli said cryptocurrencies are “not suitable” and have not been approved as legal tender within CEMAC.

“BEAC’s option is to tell citizens not to invest in these speculative assets because they are very risky. Bitcoin, for example, has lost more than 70% of its value since the start of 2022,” said Tolli.

The BEAC governor emphasised that the francs CFA, which is backed by France and pegged to the Euro, is the only approved currency within CEMAC.

He reiterated the Bank’s position after the Central African Republic (CAR) adopted cryptocurrency as legal tender in April.

At the time, BEAC said the country’s action contravenes monetary accords and could undermine the monetary stability within the sub-region.

Officials in Cameroon and the central bank have raised concerns over the danger posed by criminals looking to exploit cryptocurrencies, including money laundering.

According to a report released last year by Cameroon’s Ministry of Finance, the National Risk Assessment for Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, between 2014 and 2018 at least 160- billion Francs CFA was illegally circulated into the country to finance terrorism.

However, experts believe there is growing interest from the local market in cryptocurrencies and that it is unlikely that people will be put off using them.

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