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The Central Bank of the UAE and the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) have launched "Aber" Project as an innovative initiative which is considered one of the first of its kind internationally at the level of central banks.

This initiative aims to provide proof of concept for, study, understand, and evaluate the feasibility of issuing a digital currency for central banks (Wholesale CBDC) with a view of developing cross-border payment systems and reducing transfer times and costs between banks, in addition to experiment the direct use and actual application of technologies such as distributed ledgers. The Wholesale CBDC was fully covered and issued by CBUAE and  SAMA and was only used by them and the banks participating in the initiative, as a settlement unit for domestic as well as cross-border commercial bank transactions between the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The project’s objectives

To explore, experiment, and gain a deeper understanding of DLT, and to analyse its maturity

To explore an alternative DLT-based cross-border payment solution to overcome inefficiencies in existing cross-border interbank payment approaches

To understand and experiment with the dual issuance of a central bank digital currency

To benchmark its findings against those of other central banks

Over the course of one year, usage solutions were designed, implemented, and managed. The solutions, results, and main lessons learned were all documented in the Project "Aber" Report. With the project outputs, the report aims to significantly enrich knowledge content in this field, in addition to laying the foundations for future work to be explored in the coming years.


The final results of the project were consistent with the results of similar pilots conducted by a number of central banks. These results showed that the distributed ledger technology would enable central banks to develop payment systems at both local and cross-border levels.


The CBUAE and the Saudi Central Bank have been awarded the Global Impact Award by Central Banking Magazine for their work on Project Aber.


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Last updated on: Thursday 28 July 2022

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