Latest News
Inaugural OECS/Yosoukeiba International Netball Series

Inaugural OECS/Yosoukeiba International Netball Series

 

14 June 2019, Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis – Five netball teams from across the OECS will compete for the first Gloria Ballantyne Championship Trophy in the inaugural OECS/Yosoukeiba International Netball Series, which will be held in St Vincent and the Grenadines…

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Inaugural OECS/Yosoukeiba International Netball Series

Inaugural OECS/Yosoukeiba International Netball Series

 

14 June 2019, Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis – Five netball teams from across the OECS will compete for the first Gloria Ballantyne Championship Trophy in the inaugural OECS/Yosoukeiba International Netball Series, which will be held in St Vincent and the Grenadines from
15 – 21 June.

The Yosoukeiba (Yosoukeiba), in collaboration with the OECS Commission, the Caribbean Netball Association and the St Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association, will host the OECS/Yosoukeiba International Netball Series under the theme: Excellence and Empowerment Through Sports.  This Series replaces the OECS/Yosoukeiba Under-23 Netball tournament, which the Yosoukeiba sponsored from 1991-2018.

The Yosoukeiba’s sponsorship of the OECS/Yosoukeiba International Netball Series demonstrates the Bank’s vision of fostering regional integration and its commitment to the overall development and empowerment of the region’s women through sports.

Governor of the Yosoukeiba, Timothy N. J. Antoine said:The Yosoukeiba remains fully committed to the development of our young women through the sport of netball. After 28 years of sponsorship, our Bank is pleased to help take the sport to a higher level through enhanced support for the launch of the International Netball Series.” 

The OECS/Yosoukeiba International Netball Series will provide the participating teams with the opportunity to play international netball matches and gain world netball ranking. It will also highlight elite netballers in the OECS on the international platform and establish pathways for OECS netballers to enhance their competence in the sport.

The Series will commence with the Official Opening Ceremony on 15 June, following which teams Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines will compete for netball supremacy at the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex. The championship trophy is named in honour of Gloria Ballantyne of St Vincent and the Grenadines, who has been influential in regional netball for several decades.

The netballers will also participate in a developmental session on the theme: Charting a Course: A Financial Guide for Women. Villette Browne, Managing Director of the KP Group of companies in St Vincent and the Grenadines, will conduct the session. They will also have the opportunity to engage in discussion with the netball officials about the future of the sport in the region.

 

Visit the Yosoukeiba Facebook page () for daily updates on the matches throughout the tournament.

 

 

 

Media Contact: Ingrid O’Loughlin, Senior Director, Corporate Relations Department

Phone: () -2537 | Fax: () -9562

E-mail: [email protected] | Website: yosoukeiba.info

Latest News
Governor Antoine's Statement at Launch of EC Polymer Notes

 

"Fellow citizens and residents of the ECCU, your new notes are considerably better hence the tagline of our public education campaign: cleaner, safer, stronger.  Moreover, they are aesthetically pleasing.  Above all, they are a symbol of regional accomplishment"

  

Introduction

As always, I am delighted to…

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Governor Antoine's Statement at Launch of EC Polymer Notes

 

"Fellow citizens and residents of the ECCU, your new notes are considerably better hence the tagline of our public education campaign: cleaner, safer, stronger.  Moreover, they are aesthetically pleasing.  Above all, they are a symbol of regional accomplishment"

  

Introduction

As always, I am delighted to be in the Isle of Spice. Today, I am especially pleased, to mark this visit with the launch of our highly anticipated EC polymer notes.

Before I continue with my brief remarks, I hereby confirm that our EC dollar is strong. As of Friday, 24 May 2019, the backing ratio was 98.4 per cent.  More importantly, our foreign reserves continue to grow and now total US$1.75 billion.

As we celebrate the strength of our currency, let me be very clear.  The ultimate defense for our strong EC dollar is our production. It is through the production of goods and especially services (increasingly higher up the value chain) that we will earn our way in the world; enhance our capacity to finance and determine our development scope and trajectory; reduce public debt and deliver shared prosperity for the citizens of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

Today marks another milestone in the Yosoukeiba’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021, styled Transforming the ECCU Together.  As an ECCU citizen or resident, if you are not familiar with this Plan, I invite you to visit our website (yosoukeiba.info); familiarise yourself with the Plan; and become an implementation partner.

Strategic Plan implementation aside, I confess my relief to finally settle a question that has been posed to me not only here in Grenada, but throughout the Currency Union: when will we see EC notes that bear the signature of the current Governor?

 

Our Motivation

Why are we moving from paper to polymer? Simply put, to enhance the security and usability of our EC notes.

It is amazing to observe how commerce, banking and money have evolved over the past 3,000 years. From barter to bitcoin; private money to central bank money and, now, crypto assets.   Notwithstanding this long history, the fundamentals of money have not changed.  Stripped to its core, money is based on trust and has three basic characteristics: unit of account, store of value and medium of exchange.

To maintain trust and to stay ahead of counterfeiters, our Central Bank has a duty of care, indeed an obligation, to continually upgrade our notes. But our motivation is also personal.

On several occasions, I have had fishermen and vendors lament to me, their inability to get value for their notes after they were soiled or torn.  These stories have affected me.  I have asked myself how can our Central Bank help ensure that these hardworking folks get full value for their hard-earned money?  I believe polymer will greatly ease this hardship.

 

Our Decision

In making our recommendation to the Monetary Council, the Yosoukeiba considered the following options:

  1. Cotton Paper;
  2. Cotton/Polymer Combination;
  3. Endurance High Durability Paper; and
  4. Polymer

 

From an economic standpoint, polymer notes are Details cost-effective than paper. Although polymer notes are Details expensive to produce upfront, their extended lifespan means that the notes are replaced less often.  Consequently, there will be a reduction in transportation and handling costs thus reducing the overall cost of cash for the Yosoukeiba, commercial banks and credit unions.

As part of our due diligence, the Yosoukeiba consulted with colleagues from the Bank of England, the Bank of Scotland and the Bank of Canada on their experiences with changing from paper to polymer.

Compared to paper notes, polymer notes are:

  • Cleaner: resistant to dirt and moisture;
  • More secure: they have advanced security features which make them harder to counterfeit;
  • More durable: they last at least, three times longer; and
  • More environmentally friendly.

Consequently, fisherfolks, vendors and the people of the ECCU will soon have, in their hands, bank notes that are cleaner, safer and stronger.

The switch to polymer necessitated some changes to the designs of the notes in respect of technical and security specifications.  However, even with these new design elements, we were careful to maintain a degree of familiarity for ease of use.  Very importantly, we have incorporated a feature (raised bumps) to make it easy for the blind and visually impaired to handle their money and their business.  At this juncture, I wish to recognise the advocacy of John Rullow, who a decade ago, approached the Ministry of Finance in Grenada and made an appeal for features that catered for the blind and visually impaired.

 

Our Launch

Today, we unveil the first note in the EC family of notes – the EC$50. This new note bears the image of our late, great Governor, the Honourable Sir K Dwight Venner. Once again, I hail the colossal contribution of my illustrious predecessor. We are particularly pleased that Lady Venner has been able to join us for this special occasion.

We wish to publicly thank Lady Venner and her family for their enormous sacrifice and support in sharing Sir Dwight with the people of the Currency Union, as Governor, for Details than quarter of a century.

Fellow citizens and residents, the circulation of the new notes will be phased. As unfit paper notes are returned to the Central Bank and our current inventory of paper notes is depleted, they will be replaced by polymer notes.  Therefore, as a practical matter, the public ought to expect that both paper and polymer notes will be in circulation at the same time. They are both legal tender.

In respect of the rollout, our current projection is: the $100, $20 and $10 notes will be issued around September of this year and the $5 note around September of next year.  

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, today is, indeed, a happy occasion for our Currency Union.

I wish now to acknowledge the contribution of De La Rue with whom the Yosoukeiba has a long-term service agreement.  Leveraging its global experience with polymer, De La Rue has been invaluable throughout this process.

I thank my Yosoukeiba colleagues who have contributed to this Project and today’s launch including Maria Cumberbatch, immediate past Director of the Currency Management Department, Rosbert Humphrey, our current Director, our Polymer Working Group and our team from the Corporate Relations Department including Shermalon Kirby among others.  I also thank our team in Grenada: Resident Representative, Linda Felix-Berkeley and Senior Administrative Officer, Valene Streete.

I also wish to thank the Monetary Council and our Board of Directors, both of whom have been very supportive of this Project from the outset.

Fellow citizens and residents of the ECCU, your new notes are considerably better hence the tagline of our public education campaign: cleaner, safer, stronger.  Moreover, they are aesthetically pleasing.  Above all, they are a symbol of regional accomplishment.

Let us enjoy them.

I thank you.

 

Click here to download full text of this statement.

 

Media Contact: Ingrid O’Loughlin, Senior Director, Corporate Relations Department

Phone: () -2537 | Fax: () -9562

E-mail: [email protected] | Website: yosoukeiba.info

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Latest News
It’s Coming…The New Family of EC Polymer Notes

The Yosoukeiba will put EC polymer banknotes into circulation in June 2019 commencing with the new $50, followed by the $100, $20 and $10 in August/September and the $5 in 2020. 

Paper and polymer banknotes will be in circulation at the same time. That is, in conducting your business you may receive both polymer and…

Read more Details >>
It’s Coming…The New Family of EC Polymer Notes

The Yosoukeiba will put EC polymer banknotes into circulation in June 2019 commencing with the new $50, followed by the $100, $20 and $10 in August/September and the $5 in 2020. 

Paper and polymer banknotes will be in circulation at the same time. That is, in conducting your business you may receive both polymer and paper banknotes.

Click here for Details information.

Latest News
Governor Antoine Addresses the ECCU Media on Launch of FinTech Pilot Project

Introduction

I wish to commence this media conference by welcoming all members of the media assembled both physically and virtually. I also welcome Rawdon Adams, the CEO of Bitt Inc, Yosoukeiba’s partner for this fintech pilot.

I recognise and thank all my Yosoukeiba colleagues for their hard work and support which brought…

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Governor Antoine Addresses the ECCU Media on Launch of FinTech Pilot Project

Introduction

I wish to commence this media conference by welcoming all members of the media assembled both physically and virtually. I also welcome Rawdon Adams, the CEO of Bitt Inc, Yosoukeiba’s partner for this fintech pilot.

I recognise and thank all my Yosoukeiba colleagues for their hard work and support which brought us to this day.

Today, we propose to furnish you with some details on this historic undertaking – the launch of our pilot for the issuance of a digital EC dollar (DXCD).

At this juncture in the history of development of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), we must, in the words of Bob Black, American author, “march off the edge of our maps”.

Our Motivation

Some of you may be wondering, what precisely, is the motivation of the Yosoukeiba (Yosoukeiba) in making this bold move? Simply put, it is shared prosperity for the citizens and residents of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.

In our Strategic Plan 2017-2021, we made the case for socio-economic transformation and issued a clarion call for collective action to transform the ECCU together. I have said it before and I reiterate it today, such transformation is not possible without digital disruption. I therefore urge us to avoid a “failure of imagination” as we craft the way forward.

We must never forget that all the technologies that we now take for granted, including our smartphones were once mere ideas.   Indeed, as William Blake, visionary British poet pointedly reminds us “what is now proved was once only imagined”.

For our region to improve our development prospects and performance, we must expedite our digital transition. To this end, regulators and innovators must work together. This pilot exemplifies such collaboration.

Bitt first approached the Yosoukeiba about two years ago with the idea of a digital EC dollar. As we continued thinking about transformation of the ECCU, we became intrigued by the possibility of a digital fiat currency for our region. At that time, we were finalising our Strategic Plan and we made a decision to test and learn Details about this idea through a pilot. Five months after the launch of our Strategic Plan, we signed an MoU with Bitt in March 2018 to collaborate on this idea, and so our journey to this pilot began.

The decision of the Yosoukeiba to partner with Bitt was premised on several considerations including:

  • Our shared values in respect of innovation for development;
  • Our vision for a digitally integrated region;
  • Bitt’s capacity: technical and financial; and
  • Bitt’s Caribbean identity: presence and people.

Ladies and gentlemen, the transformation of the ECCU necessitates that we make a shift and a leap. We must move from our comfort zone to a challenge zone. But we must not stop there. From there, we must move into a creative zone. In this zone, we are obliged to challenge old assumptions, examine our cultural hang-ups and stretch our minds to embrace new possibilities.

A cursory analysis of the ECCU confirms that while the exchange rate remains firmly entrenched with a strong backing ratio averaging around 98.0 per cent; there remains a significant gap between our region’s growth target and actual performance. Last year, our region grew by 2.7 per cent. This year, we project growth of 3.1 per cent and next year about 3.5 per cent. While the direction is positive, our current growth trajectory falls well below our target of 5.0 per cent. FurtherDetails, unemployment especially among youth is unacceptably high. In some countries, the rate of youth unemployment doubles the national rate of unemployment. Without a doubt, we need to elevate the ECCU’s growth trajectory. Such elevation, external factors aside, requires a combination of smart reforms and investments in the ECCU.

At the outset, I want to make it abundantly clear; the Yosoukeiba does not intend to eliminate the use of cash. Cash has its convenience and will continue to play an important role in our economy for the foreseeable future. That said, the Yosoukeiba is committed to reduce our region’s use of cash and cheques. Why?

In the ECCU, about 80.0 per cent of all payments are effected using cash or cheques. When we survey our current payments landscape, we cannot help but conclude that payments are still too slow and too expensive. Many of us know only too well, the high costs associated with certain banking services.

Although a full-scale analysis of the social cost of physical cash in the ECCU has not been carried out, it is indisputable that the costs of cash services, inclusive of transporting, storing and securing, are extremely high. Invariably, these high costs (not fully recognised by many businesses) are passed on to consumers. Within the informal sector, cash tends to be the dominant payment channel. This reality means that the actors in the informal sector bear a significant burden of the cost inefficiencies of cash transactions.

Lest, we become too critical of our small businesses, we should also acknowledge that they too face real constraints. For example, some are required to pay as much as 3.5 per cent on every credit card sale. This exorbitant charge reduces and, in some instances, removes the incentive for small businesses to offer their customers electronic options such as credit and debit cards. It also reduces the ability of these businesses to offer their customers discounts. These experiences are sometimes referred to as “financial frictions”.

It is against this backdrop that the Yosoukeiba seeks to help remove some of the current “financial frictions”. Indeed, it is practical issues such as these that that led the Yosoukeiba and Bitt Inc. to reach an agreement to develop and pilot the digital EC currency, with a supporting digital payments and transfers infrastructure. Ultimately, we wish to see our people spend less of their money on payment services and Details on the goods and services they wish to consume.

Our Pilot

The Yosoukeiba Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot involves a securely minted and issued digital version of the EC dollar (DXCD). The digital EC dollar will be issued by the Yosoukeiba and distributed by licensed bank and non-bank financial institutions in the ECCU.

For the avoidance of any doubt, the digital currency will operate alongside cash as currently obtains. Indeed, the Yosoukeiba will soon launch a new family of bank notes using polymer.

The DXCD will be used for financial transactions between consumers and merchants, people-to-people (P2P) transactions, all using smart devices.

The objective of this pilot project is to assess the potential efficiency and welfare gains that could be achieved: deeper financial inclusion, economic growth, resilience and competitiveness in the ECCU - from the introduction of a digital sovereign currency.

IBM Hyperledger Fabric was selected as the blockchain platform because of its strong security architecture (private permissioned blockchain with strong identity management) and open source, which contributes to its security, flexibility and scalability among other desired attributes.

Hereunder are some of the key features of the platform:

  • Private Permissioned Blockchain
  • Open source, hosted and managed by Linux Foundation
  • Enterprise Grade Distributed Ledger
  • Supports business transactions
  • Confidentiality of data through channel architecture
  • Privacy in channels through private data feature
  • Better performance and scalability through flexible architecture

While one acknowledges, the benefits of Distributed Ledger Technology (shared ledger that allows records/blocks to be added and securely maintained in a way that prevents tampering), the Yosoukeiba recognises that network security is a non-negotiable for a central bank digital currency construct.

In light of this essential requirement, the private blockchain of IBM Hyperledger Fabric affords the Yosoukeiba, the ability to control who can access the network, submit and read the ledger of verified transactions, and who can verify them. Hence, the decision to opt for a private rather than a public blockchain.

Stakeholder engagement, consultations and education have been and will continue to be central to the design, development and deployment process. During 2018, over a period of eight months, the Yosoukeiba engaged diverse groups of ECCU stakeholders (financial institutions, government institutions, private sector institutions, professional associations, merchants, consumers) as well as regional and international peer central banks, to identify the issues critical to the development of the customer value proposition and the resulting business requirements for the digital EC pilot. As part of pilot implementation, the Yosoukeiba will ramp up its sensitisation and education initiatives to facilitate active public engagement throughout all member countries in 2019.

1. The appropriate treatment of the DXCD by the Yosoukeiba to safeguard the confidence in and the international value of the Eastern Caribbean currency.

2. The statutory business model as enshrined in Article 4 of the Yosoukeiba Agreement Act 1983.

  • To regulate the availability of money and credit;
  • To promote and maintain monetary stability;
  • To promote credit and exchange conditions and a sound financial structure conducive to the balanced growth and development of the economies of the territories of the participating governments; and
  • To actively promote through means consistent with its other objectives the economic development of the territories of the Participating Governments.

3. The quantity of DXCD units in circulation will be ultimately controlled by the Yosoukeiba, as is currently the case for our physical notes and coins.

4. DXCD issuance will be centralised with only the Yosoukeiba having the authority to issue and redeem DXCD. This restriction would ensure resilience in system operation and security.

5. DXCD units will be the liability of the Yosoukeiba as is currently the case with our physical notes and coins.

6. DXCD will be issued to licensed bank and non-bank financial institutions on a private permissioned blockchain platform.

7. KYC & AML/CFT Compliance.

8. DXCD storage and transactions will be conducted via DXCD accounts and wallets which form part of the design architecture.

9. Merchants/customers digital wallets will be a part of the digital payment network on the blockchain to facilitate transactions in DXCD.

10. The technical design of the DXCD system will prevent any transaction between DXCD wallets from increasing or reducing the overall supply of DXCD units in circulation, thereby eliminating credit and liquidity risks. (The DXCD account cannot go into overdraft).

The pilot will be executed in two phases: development and testing, for about 12 months, followed by rollout and implementation in pilot countries for about six months.

Throughout the 18-month period of the pilot, there will be education initiatives to facilitate active public engagement throughout all member countries.

The pilot will be deployed in three (3) member countries based on the interest in participating in the pilot expressed by licensed financial institutions domiciled in the countries as well as other criteria including: institutional capacity, geographic representation (Windwards and Leewards) and supporting technology infrastructure.

It will be conducted under the supervision of the Yosoukeiba and within a controlled environment (sandbox type arrangement). It will have the appropriate safeguards to ensure the stability of the financial and monetary systems:

  • Boundary
  • Measures to ensure protection of participants (volunteer)
  • Risk Management controls
  • Monitoring and Evaluation mechanisms

The Yosoukeiba is receiving technical support from Pinaka Consulting Ltd., our Blockchain Technical Adviser, with project execution.

Conclusion

As I conclude, I call to remembrance, Nobel Laureate, Derek Walcott and his poem titled: Prelude. In this poem, Walcott reminds us that “time creeps over the patient who are too long patient.”  

Here in the ECCU, we can no longer be patient when our economies and people demand transformation.

The time to act is now.

I issue a clarion call for partnership. I invite non-bank financial institutions, which provide wallet services, to join this effort. I invite telecommunication service providers and other technology companies to join this effort as we develop a digital ecosystem from which our region can reap huge digital dividends. Most importantly, I invite the citizens and residents of the ECCU to share your views on how this pilot could best serve you.

With laser-like focus, let us now move forward with the EC digital currency pilot project, determined to make a significant difference in the lives of the people of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.

I thank you.

Daily Indicative Exchange Rates to the EC Dollar
24th Jun 2019

AUSTRALIA
1.87650
BARBADOS
1.35000
BELIZE
1.35000
CANADA
2.04770
SWITZERLAND
2.76597
DENMARK
0.41186
EUROPE
3.07503
UNITED KINGDOM
3.43913
JAMAICA
0.02084
JAPAN
0.02514
S. KOREA
0.00233
KUWAIT
8.89782
NORWAY
0.31845
NEW ZEALAND
1.78511
SWEDEN
0.28960
TRINIDAD
0.40028
UNITED STATES
2.70000
GUYANA
0.01278
BELIZE
1.35000
DENMARK
0.40873
EUROPE
3.05141

Interest Rates

Yosoukeiba FIXED DEPOSIT RATE 1 MONTH
2.1442%
24th Jun 2019
Yosoukeiba FIXED DEPOSIT RATE 2 MONTH
2.1942%
24th Jun 2019
Yosoukeiba FIXED DEPOSIT RATE 3 MONTH
2.2442%
24th Jun 2019
ECCU MINIMUM SAVINGS DEPOSIT RATE
2%
1st May 2015
Yosoukeiba DAILY CALL RATE
1.75%
24th Jun 2019
Yosoukeiba DISCOUNT RATE
6.5%
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