“Challenges and prospects of cryptocurrencies as facilitator of investment in west Africa” and “Cryptocurrencies as tools for investment growth in west Africa”. These two topics were respectively presented by an expert from the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), Hyppolite Kouakou, and a cryptocurrency expert, Olusegun Akinyelu. The two presentations were made during a delocalised meeting of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on 7 July 2021 in Ouagadougou.
The experts highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of this virtual currency and especially the opportunities it offers for regional trade.
It emerged from the presentations that since the creation of the early cryptocurrencies, the virtual currency has various variants with this key characteristic: lack of physical medium.
According to the presentations, there are almost no regulatory authorities of cryptocurrencies. However, the boom of Bitcoins and the growing popularity of virtual currencies have caught the attention of financial authorities and governments who have started giving them a thought. Some countries have made efforts to put in place regulations, and have made some progress.
The two experts also indicated in their presentations that the digitalisation of the economy could pave the way to more reactive and productive payment facilities than the bureaucratic financial services of today. However, they balanced their optimism with the regulatory uncertainty.
They concluded that they believe cryptocurrencies offer significant opportunities to investors while admitting, however, that real dangers exist, hence the need to “exercise caution”.