Saudi-UAE Leaders Confirm Forthcoming Jointly-Issued Digital Currency


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for an official visit yesterday to discuss joint policy measures, including a digital currency plan. 

On Nov. 27, private English-language daily UAE newspaper The National reported that Prince Mohammed was welcomed by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. 

Financial and political cooperation

The two leaders are reported to have officially agreed on four new policy partnerships and to have reviewed seven strategic initiatives. On the agenda was a policy to launch a digital currency to facilitate interbank trading between the two countries.

Details of the jointly-issued digital currency were revealed by the United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAECB) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) in January of this year.

Today’s discussion situates the policy among the foremost partnerships between the countries — alongside agreements that include the construction of a major new oil refinery with a daily capacity of 1.2 million barrels and to cooperate on cybersecurity.

The National cites press coverage from Saudi news agency Spa, which reportedly declared that the UAE considers Saudi Arabia as its “safety valve,” carrying “the banner of defending its interests against all aspirations and projects aimed at splitting Arab unity.”

In Riyadh this week, bank officials from both countries will be meeting to discuss challenges and opportunities in their respective financial sectors, The National reports.

Digital currency restricted to interbank usage

As Cointelegraph has reported, the UACEB-SAMA digital currency is named “Aber” and will be limited to financial settlements using distributed ledger technologies “on a probational basis and exclusive use by a limited number of banks in the two countries.”

At the time, the banks did not indicate an official launch date for the currency’s pilot issuance and none has been reported in today’s English-language coverage of the leaders’ meeting.

Aber and the other matters officially discussed in Abu Dhabi today form part of a seven-point bilateral cooperation plan between UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, negotiated in a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Saudi-Emirati Co-ordination Council this January.

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