Jamaica Introduces Its CBDC to Support Those who are Financially Excluded

The central bank of Jamaica doubled down on its plans to design a digital version of its national currency. The institution claimed that the financial product will benefit a considerable percentage of the residents who do not have access to basic monetary services.

Jamaica’s CBDC to Help the Locals

Jamaica is yet another nation that pursues the launch of a central bank digital currency. In February this year, the central bank announced that everything was ready for the release of the product. The institution even chose a name for its CBDC – Jam-Dex.

In a recent interview, Committee Chair and Deputy Governor of the Bank of Jamaica – Natalie Haynes – explained that the purpose of the upcoming digital currency is to aid those Jamaicans who are financially excluded from the monetary network:

“We still have a large percent of the population that remains outside of the formal financial system, the financially included.”

The executive further outlined that the launch of Jam-Dex aims to digitally transform the entire economy of the island nation.

In her view, the financial product will be appealing to those who are keen on using electronic methods of payment such as credit and debit cards. The majority of those people had also found the usage of cash to be “burden-some or in some cases – dangerous,” Haynes added.

Subsequently, she revealed that the Bank of Jamaica will conduct additional tests on its CBDC during April to ensure fluency in the transactions. The Deputy Governor raised hopes that all issues will be cleared in the next four weeks, while Jam-Dex should be introduced to the broad society in the upcoming months.

CBDCs in the Caribbean Region

Once accomplished, the Jamaican digital currency will become the third such project in the Caribbean Sea area. The Bahamas launched its Sand Dollar in 2020, while DCash (introduced in 2021) is the CBDC of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Earlier this month, the Jamaican government said it will spread awareness and bolster the employment of Jam-Dex by airdropping $16 (equaling 2500 Jamaican dollars) to the first 100,000 citizens who set up CBDC wallets after April 1.

Dr. Nigel Clarke – Minister of Finance – said the initiative’s main objective is to encourage locals to use the product as an option to conduct transactions. He added that the government seeks to incentivize businesses to create wallets and incorporate Jam-Dex in their everyday operations. The more bars, shops, and vendors accept the CBDC, the more widespread its usage will be, Clarke surmised.

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