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Nigeria boosts features, focuses on the unbanked, and hopes to attract millions of new eNaira members.

19-Aug-2022 By: Shailja Joshi
Nigeria boosts featu

Godwin Emefiele, thegovernor of the Central bank of nigeria cbn, informed participants at theeNaira Hackathon that the CBDC will become more appealing and accessible as aresult of technological advancements.

According to CBN governor Godwin Emefiele, who was speaking at the 2022 eNaira Hackathon in Abuja on Thursday, the eNaira, the country's central bank digital currency(CBDC), would enter the second phase of its expansion with new technologies to increase its user base and enhance payment system or drive financial inclusion.In October 2021, the eNaira, Africa's first CBDC, was introduced.

"The projects second phase has started, and it aims to promote financial inclusion/digital economy by bringing aboard underserved and unbanked consumers [...] with atarget of roughly 8 million active users," Emefiele stated. With around270,000 active wallets, including 252,000 consumer wallets, the CBDC hasreceived about 840,000 downloads. Approximately 200,000 transactions totaling 4 billion naira (or about 9.5 million united states dollars at the official exchange rate) have taken place.

UnstructuredSupplementary Service Data (USSD), which will enable customers to create eNairawallets simply dialing a four-digit code on their mobile phones regardless of whether they have bank accounts, will be implemented by the central bank"by next week," according to Emefiele. After that, customers with bank accounts will be able to transfer money instantly between bank accounts using the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIPS). There are currently apps available for the eNaira that let users pay for utilities and a variety of other services.

The eNaira platform will also be enhanced with the eNaira Hackathon platform, according to DanielAwe, CEO of the Africa Fintech Foundry. The central bank and that organization together sponsored the hackathon, which received 4,667 startup entries. Ten of them won awards totaling between one million and five million naira.

Despite the country's"implicit prohibition" on cryptocurrencies, the naira and the eNaira are both subject to fierce competition from cryptocurrencies because of the instability of the fiat currency. 

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