eNaira: Nigeria Launches Africa’s First Digital Currency

President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele at the eNaira launch

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has launched Africa’s first central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Mr Buhari unveiled Nigeria’s digital currency, eNaira at the State House in Abuja on Monday, October 25. 

According to the President, the eNaira currency would expand access to global banking, foster economic growth and increase remittances from other countries. 

 ”Let me note that aside from the global trend to create Digital Currencies, we believe that there are Nigeria-specific benefits that cut across different sectors of, and concerns of the economy,” Mr Buhari said. 

 ”The use of CBDCs can help move many more people and businesses from the informal into the formal sector, thereby increasing the tax base of the country.”

The President further laid to rest concerns over the scalability and sustainability of the eNaira, explaining that the country had started to consider the creation of a digital currency in 2017. 

”Work intensified over the past several months with several brainstorming exercises, deployment of technical partners and advisers, collaboration with the Ministries of Communication and Digital Economy and its sister agencies like the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), integration of banking software across the country and painstaking tests to ensure the robustness, safety and scalability of the CBDC System,” he said.

”This payment system now provides high‐value and time‐critical payment services to financial institutions, and ultimately serves as the backbone for every electronic payment in Nigeria. They have also supported several private‐sector initiatives to improve the existing payments landscape, and in turn, have created some of the world’s leading payment service providers today.”

Speaking on the milestone, Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele described the eNaira as the digital version of the Naira. 

“The eNaira is the same Naira with far more possibilities. The eNaira – like the physical Naira – is a legal tender in Nigeria and a liability of the CBN. The eNaira and Naira will have the same value and will always be exchanged at 1 naira to 1 eNaira,” he said.

Emefiele further explained that the Nigerian government had taken steps to create an enabling ecosystem for the eNaira to facilitate payments and thrive as a legal tender alongside Naira. 


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