African markets

Nigeria launches eNaira, Africa’s first central bank digital currency

(Xinhua) – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday launched eNaira, the country’s central bank (CBDC) digital currency, becoming the first African country to introduce an official digital currency.

With the launch of eNaira in Abuja, Buhari noted that Nigeria is also one of the first in the world to introduce digital currency to its citizens.

In recent times, a global trend is that the use of physical cash in doing business and in payments is on the decline, the Nigerian leader said during the unveiling of the eNaira Digital at the Abuja Statehouse on Monday.

“This trend has been exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resurgence of a new digital economy. Along with these developments, businesses, households and other economic agents have sought new means of payment in the new circumstances, ”he said. Explain.

An overwhelming majority of central banks around the world have started to consider issuing digital currencies in order to meet the needs of businesses and households looking for faster, safer, easier and cheaper means of payment, by response to the aforementioned developments, said Buhari.

“A handful of countries, including China, the Bahamas and Cambodia, have already issued their own CBDCs,” he noted, saying the adoption of the CBDC and its underlying technology, called blockchain, can increase Nigeria’s gross domestic product by US $ 29 billion over the next 10 years.

“Let me note that besides the global trend towards the creation of digital currencies, we believe that there are specific advantages in Nigeria which cut across different sectors and concerns of the economy,” he said.

According to Buhari, the journey to create a digital currency for Nigeria began in 2017.

He said that in addition to digital innovations, CBDCs can drive economic growth through better business activities, increased remittances and better financial inclusion.

The Nigerian leader also said that the introduction of eNaira would allow the government to send direct payments to citizens eligible for specific social protection programs, as well as promote cross-border trade.

Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said during the launch of the CBDC that eNaira is the digital equivalent of the physical naira, the country’s currency.

As the slogan simply sums it up, the eNaira is the same Naira with many more possibilities. The eNaira – like the physical Naira – is legal tender in Nigeria and a responsibility of the CBN. The eNaira and the Naira will have the same value and will still be traded at 1 naira for 1 eNaira, ”Emefiele said.

The CBN has carefully reviewed the entire payments and financial architecture and designed the eNaira to complement and strengthen ecosystems and has security measures and policies in place to maintain the integrity of the financial system, a he declared.

The main Nigerian banker said with eNaira that there would be strict adherence to anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing standards in order to preserve the integrity and stability of the Nigerian payments system.

Already, 33 banks are fully integrated and live on the eNaira platform, with more than 2,000 customers on board and more than 120 successfully registered merchants at the time of eNaira’s launch, according to the governor of the CBN.

At the end of September, CBN’s eNaira website was tested before the proposed official launch. Final element