CBUAE & SAMA won Central Banking Magazine’s ‘2021 Global Impact Award’

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) and the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) have been awarded the Global Impact Award by Central Banking Magazine for their work on Project Aber.

A first-of-its-kind joint, proof-of-concept initiative emerging from the CBUAE’s and Saudi Central Bank’s shared commitment to innovation, Project Aber aims to explore whether distributed ledger technology (DLT) could enable cross-border payments between the two countries by depending on a dual-issued digital currency as a unit of settlement between commercial banks in the two countries and domestically. The goal is to assist in addressing pain points faced in cross-border payments, notably in terms of reducing transfer time and costs.

The results of the pilot project, which was implemented during 2020 and 2021 with the active participation of several commercial banks from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, confirmed the possibility of using a digital currency issued by two central banks to settle payments, whether locally or across borders, by relying on a DLT-based infrastructure.

Mr. Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of the Central Bank of the UAE remarked that “expanded digitalization of financial services, underpinned by innovation, is one of our primary focus areas. Alongside the SAMA, we initiated Project Aber to issue a joint central bank digital currency.

“We are pleased that Project Aber was chosen as the winner of the 2021 Global Impact Award, and to be working with the SAMA from the concept stage to the implementation. We are confident that the promising results derived from this project will allow us to further explore the potential of DLT, with a broader goal of transforming the financial and banking systems of our countries,” Mr. Balama added.

The Central Banking Awards are an industry-leading awards program to recognize transformative central banks worldwide across key areas, such as climate change, technology, and governance.

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