UAE Plans to Issue a CBDC to Promote Digital Payments

The deployment of a digital dirham is one of nine key initiatives of the UAE's new Financial Infrastructure Transformation Program.

AccessTimeIconFeb 13, 2023 at 9:35 a.m. UTC
Updated Feb 13, 2023 at 3:29 p.m. UTC

The central bank of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is planning to issue a central bank digital currency (CBDC) for domestic and cross-border payments as part of a new project to accelerate digital transformation.

The issuance of a digital version of the UAE's dirham is one of nine initiatives of the central bank's Financial Infrastructure Transformation Program, announced on Sunday.

According to the announcement, the first stage of the project sets up a "series of digital payment infrastructures and services" including the issuance of a CBDC for "cross-border and domestic uses."

"These digital payment initiatives will drive financial inclusion, promote payment innovation, security and efficiency, and achieve a cashless society," the announcement said, adding that a digital dirham will "address the problems and inefficiency of cross-border payments and help drive innovation for domestic payments respectively."

Jurisdictions around the world are considering the issuance of CBDCs to facilitate improvements in the payments and banking sectors, with the Bank of England recently joining in by publishing its own plans for a digital pound.

Dubai, one of the UAE's emirates, published comprehensive rules to regulate the crypto sector last week, including the establishment of a licensing regime for crypto companies and said it wants to prohibit the issuance and activities related to anonymity-enhancing crypto.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Sandali Handagama is a CoinDesk reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She does not own any crypto.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.