10 African countries that have banned cryptocurrency

African countries that have banned cryptocurrency [Jakub Porzycki/Getty Images]

Cryptocurrency transactions in some African countries have remained banned despite the possibility of introducing comprehensive regulatory frameworks to support its development.

According to Chainalysis, Africa is currently one of the fastest-growing crypto markets in the world, with Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa having the highest number of users in the region.

Several governments suspect the digital asset for several reasons, including its use for money laundering and illicit activities, tax evasion, as cryptocurrency transactions can be difficult to trace, and financial fraud.

In 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed all banks to shut down all customer accounts involved in cryptocurrency transactions.

The financial regulator, however,lifted the banin December 2023.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) increased the restrictions on May 6, 2024, by announcing the delisting of the naira from all peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms.

The Director-General of the Commission, Emomotimi Agama, further hinted that the government was drafting a new set of regulations to govern the crypto sector, following the International Monetary Fund (IMF) 's advice on regulating the industry.

10 African countries that have banned cryptocurrency

Here are countries in Africa that have placed an outright ban on cryptocurrency transactions:

1. Tunisia

In 2018, the Tunisian central bank criminalised crypto use after issuing a statement warning against using any digital asset not authorised by the state.

2. Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's apex bank banned two crypto companies in 2019. The bank also denied issuing licenses to businesses or financial institutions to take deposits for crypto investing or trading.

3. Republic of Congo

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Congolese government has outright banned crypto. A 2018 study by Ecobank also revealed that the Congolese Government and the country's Central Bank have yet to articulate a public stance regarding the use of cryptocurrency and its legality.

4. Ghana

The Ghanaian government has also placed an outright ban on crypto transactions. While assessing the use of blockchain and how the technology fits into the nation's payments system, the government, in 2022, reiterated its 2018 ban on the use of crypto in all financial transactions

5. Algeria

The Algerian parliament, in 2018, passed the Financial Law, which placed an embargo on the purchase, sale, use, and possession of crypto.

10 African countries that have banned cryptocurrency

6. Lesotho

The country's central bank, in 2018, issued a statement prohibiting the promotion and investments in cryptocurrency.

The bank described crypto as unregulated and unlicensed.

7. Morocco

Morocco's Ministry of Economy banned all forms of crypto transactions in 2017 for violating exchange regulations. The country's central bank, however, announced in 2023 that a new crypto trading regulation was being drafted.

8. Tanzania

Although Tanzania does not have a written regulatory framework for crypto transactions, its central bank issued a statement cautioning the public against trading and using virtual currencies. The bank noted that the only accepted legal tender is the Tanzanian Shilling.

9. Cameroon

At the moment, the only central bank for the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC)-the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), to which Cameroon is affiliated-has not enacted any regulation regarding cryptocurrency trading.

The government is currently reviewing new regulatory mechanisms for the industry.

10. Egypt

By religious decree, cryptocurrency trading is prohibited under the Islamic Law. The country's primary Islamic legislator, Dar al-Iftai, issued a religious decree classifying Bitcoin transactions as haram in 2018.

The Central Bank of Egypt followed up in 2019 with a statement saying it would develop a law banning the creation, trading, or promotion of cryptocurrency without a license.


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