HIT is developing a central bank digital currency (CBDC), are universities making currencies now?

Leonard Sengere Avatar

Apparently, the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) is developing a central bank digital currency. HIT Vice Chancellor Dr Kanhukamwe revealed this at the graduation ceremony held at their campus a few days ago.

This raises a lot of questions. We have covered what central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are and you will recall that they are essentially just a nation’s currency in digital form. It is the central bank that is liable for the currency.

So, it is quite strange to hear an organisation that is not the central bank say they are working on a CBDC. It still would have been strange had they said they are working on any currency.

The govt does not take kindly to those who would mess around with currencies. Try announcing you are working on a currency yourself and see how quickly you will be shut down.

Could this mean the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is working with HIT to develop a CBDC? Could be.

What we know is that the RBZ seems serious about CBDCs, even having a roadmap for deployment. We are still waiting for the consultation paper they said is coming.

Selling the President on CBDCs

At the HIT ceremony where they revealed that they are working on a CBDC, the President was in attendance and the HIT VC sold him on the benefits of CBDCs. At this point, I’m convinced that we will be seeing a CBDC in this country. Here’s what the VC had to say,

…It has the capacity to reduce significantly the regulatory costs for central banks thus reducing the transactional costs that will ultimately reduce the costs of service. As a result, there is significant reduction in fees.

Therefore banking the unbanked will boost the business for the small and medium enterprises as they increase chances of ordering finance. The technology will reduce the printing of money as we work towards a digitalised economy by 2030. Digital currency has the capability of eliminating currency manipulation, hoarding and fuelling of black market currency trading.

That was a brilliant pitch by the HIT VC. He knew his audience and said all the right things. President Mnangagwa’s administration has often complained about economic saboteurs manipulating currencies and crashing our beloved ZW$. So, to tell him that CBDCs are the solution he has been looking for is brilliant.

I imagine the RBZ governor got a call after the HIT ceremony along the lines of, “Iwe Jonso taapapi nezvimaCBDC zviya?” I too wonder where we are with those CBDCs.

It’s a good pitch but is it true?

He says CBDCs will help eliminate currency manipulation. That is possible. With CBDCs, the RBZ will have more extensive data on the movement of funds in the economy. This should make it easier to spot any anomalies.

This greater oversight by the RBZ scares me a bit too. It can be misused. It’s a double edged sword, the RBZ getting greater control could help in coming up with and tracking progress of monetary policies. On the other hand, we are talking about more control for the RBZ. Do we really want that?

We talked about these matters before. If you don’t know what those CBDCs are all about, the following articles should get you up to speed.

Zim govt looking at central bank digital currency, what is that and why won’t it fix our problems

The RBZ invites dialogue on coming digital currency (CBDC), you have to be a part of this



  1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    How does the RBZ get “more control” and why is this bad? I doubt its any more control than they currently have. Nonetheless, it is exactly their job to control the currency.

    I think we also give too much credit to a technology buzzword. At present, the RBZ can monitor all digital transactions in the RTGS, ZimSwitch and mobile money ecosystems. The question is: are they motivated to act on “anomalies”?

    What we need are guarantees of backing value, not blockchain. Our present problems will just persist, albeit supported by a digital currency.

    If 1000 RTGS still buys the same value of goods, years later, or if 1 USD in a Nostro account is still redeemable for 1 USD cash, years later, then noone is concerned what backing tech is used. It could be in Excel for all we care.

    1. RBZ

      une ka idea of what you are trying to say, but you way too shallow….the more you know about this subject reality will sink in that you know almost nothing.

  2. I’m Me

    In the development of such a digital currency, the central back can take 3 routes:
    1. Train their current IT human resources to develop the technology inhouse.
    2. Hire capable developers and use them to develop the technology inhouse.
    3. Outsource the work to capable software development companies.

    Now, HIT has many companies under it’s name, each focusing on a certain niche, armed with capable human resources, which makes it a fitting candidate for option 3. Which answers the question in your article’s title.

  3. S Moyo

    Rubbish, same guys ve Ventilator

  4. FatsoLa

    The VC decided to see how many buzzwords he could get away with saying in one statement without actually saying much. Kudos to him

  5. sg

    rtgs haisi digital currency here? asking for a frnd