The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced on Wednesday that it has started working with Saudi Arabia on a digital currency to speed up financial transactions between the two countries.

The exact date when it would be issued is still unknown, but the digital currency is not targeted at consumers. It’s strictly for banks.

Mubarak Rashed al-Mansouri, speaking at a financial technology conference in Abu Dhabi, also said the UAE central bank was working on a strategic plan to develop fintech which would be supported by a legislative and regulatory framework.

According to Mansouri, fintech could play a major role in improving financial inclusion — the provision of affordable financial services across the economy — and noted that the legal mandate of the central bank now included fostering financial inclusion.

At the time, UAE Central Bank governor Mubarak Rashid Al-Mansouri had informed the public that the institutions were still studying the technology needed to execute the digital asset. 

Al-Mansouri was, however, cautious about the implementation once its finalized, stating that the cryptocurrency would be used between the central monetary authorities and would not be available to retail consumers, at the time.

“We use digital currency that is supported by real currency in both countries. This might be the first time that we witness such cooperation in this field at the level of policies and implementation.”

He also added, “We hope this initiative will encourage similar cooperation at the level of GCC countries and world at large.”


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