Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Nigeria to add new features to its e-Naira to aid adoption

Nigeria may be looking to add some extra features to its central bank-issued digital currency (CBDC), the e-Naira. This news was disclosed in a recent announcement made by Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Emefiele, who spoke at the just concluded e-Naira Hackathon programme, said that the upgrade efforts are in line with the government’s plans to facilitate quicker adoption of the CBDC. And so, the features will focus on making the e-Naira more appealing and easily accessible.

The e-Naira will boost financial inclusion, says CBN

Going by the words of the CBN governor, there’s a lot that Nigeria hopes to achieve with its CBDC. However, one of the major goals is to bring financial inclusion to as many of its residents as possible. He said:

“The second phase of the project has begun and is intended to drive financial inclusion by onboarding the unbanked and underserved users.”

According to Emefiele, there have been at least, 840,000 downloads of the CBDC so far, with no less than 270,000 active wallets. Additionally, users have transferred about 4 billion Nigerian nairas, in as much as 200,000 separate transactions, using the e-Naira. That’s nearly  $9.5 million per the official exchange rate. However, those figures are still far from what the CBN has in mind. 

With mass adoption in mind, the central bank will integrate the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) in the coming week. And according to Emefiele, this will allow users without bank accounts or even internet access to be able to create e-Naira wallets.

Meanwhile, Emefiele also admits that the entire process is a long-term bid. That’s especially considering the fact that Nigeria is at the forefront of the CBDC concept in the African continent. It was just last October that the West African nation pioneered Africa’s first CBDC – the e-Naira.

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