This paper discusses critical considerations in the design of central bank digital currency (CBDC) in West Africa through a comparative case study of Ghana’s (eCedi) and Nigeria’s (eNaira) design frameworks. This paper analyses CBDC design options framed through context (digital payment landscape and CBDC objectives), technical aspects (design principles, architecture, risks), use cases, and deployment plans. This study conducted a thematic analysis of official CBDC design documents to identify similarities, differences, and patterns. The results indicate more similarities between the eCedi and eNaira designs than differences. Differences were observed in the CBDC deployment context, risk profiles, and plans. Surprisingly, neither country has articulated the detailed legal and regulatory environments for CBDC. This paper highlights the use of CBDC designs to promote citizens’ welfare by using financially inclusive policy goals within central banking’s welfare functions, thereby extending their traditional role. Policymakers should focus on adaptive legal and policy design outlooks to address uncertainties associated with CBDC. This paper is important because it is one of the first to contribute to a detailed comparison of Ghana and Nigeria’s CBDC design frameworks.
Keywords: Ghana; Africa; Nigeria; central bank digital currency; eCedi; eNaira; CBDC; FinTech