The Nigerian government has announced the expansion of eNaira’s technical capabilities. One of the initiative’s goals is to increase the user base of the central bank digital currency (CBDC). 

Nigeria Expands Technical Capabilities of eNaira

The Central Bank of Nigeria aims to increase the availability and demand for a CBDC by expanding the digital currency’s functionality. This was disclosed by Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, during the eNaira Hackathon 2022.

Recall that eNaira was launched in October 2021. According to Emefiele, since then, the CBDC has had about 270,000 active wallets, 93% of which are eNaira Speed Wallet, intended for use by individuals. Throughout that time, about 200,000 transactions have been made with eNaira worth about 4 billion nairas (~$9.5 million).

The Nigerian government plans to attract about 8 million new CBDC users through technical upgrades that include using Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) to simplify the creation of the eNaira Speed Wallet for users without a bank account. At the same time, technical upgrades will allow CBDC users holding a bank account to use the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIPS) to facilitate eNaira transfers between bank accounts. 

A recent update of the eNaira app allowed users to pay for utilities, television subscriptions, and plane tickets using the CBDC.

The Central Bank of Nigeria is partnering with Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF) to expand digital currency adoption by sponsoring the eNaira Hackathon 2022. The hackathon attracted more than 4,500 fintech startups, ten of which received government grants to develop technical innovations.

Author: Ana Bustos García
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