E-Naira transactions hit N4bn 11 months after start

Eleven months after a rocky launch, Nigeria’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the e-naira, has recorded N4 billion ($9.3 million ) in transactions.
According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, over 200,000 transactions valued at N4 billion have been made on the platform. The e-naira app has reached 840,000 downloads, with about 270,000 active wallets comprising over 252,000 consumer wallets, and 17,000 merchant wallets.
But it’s not enough for Emefiele and the CBN. After completing the first [launch] phase of the CBDC, the Nigerian government plans to get 8 million active subscribers in a second implementation phase that includes launching USSD transactions.
Most digital currencies are unavailable to Africans because they require smartphones and internet access. Nigeria’s internet penetration rate is at 37.3% while less than 40 million have smartphones. This means over 100 million Nigerians are excluded from digital initiatives like the e-naira.
With USSD though, things will change. CBN plans to achieve its 8 million target by allowing more Nigerians—especially those without access to digitisation—to access the e-naira. Over the next couple of weeks, Nigerians can create, fund, and use e-naira wallets by dialling *997#.
While Nigeria is the first African country to launch CBDC, other African countries have plans in motion, and are using the CBN’s successes and failures as guidelines. Kenya, Madagascar, Eswatini, Rwanda, Ghana, Morocco, and Tunisia have already instituted plans to launch CBDCs, which are in various stages of development.
The foray into central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in Africa is seen intensifying in 2022, following the roll-out and widespread uptake of the e-Naira, the continent’s first virtual currency backed and issued by a central bank.
More than 80 percent of the world’s central banks are now considering launching CBDCs, according to PwC’s 2022 CBDC Global Index.
“This year, central banks are ramping up activity in the digital currency space. The success of Nigeria’s eNaira is likely to spur CBDC development in countries where financial inclusion is one of the key desired outcomes,” said PwC UK, Blockchain & Crypto Specialist, Haydn Jones.
Nigeria tops the PWC’s global CBDC retail index – affirming the country’s success in deploying its digital currency. Despite the much-publicised early problems with the eNaira site, within three months after its launch, more than 600,000 eNaira speed wallets had been created, with app downloads in 160 countries.
The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has disclosed that Nigerians would be able to transact on eNaira wallet through the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data code on mobile phones.
The eNaira is a central bank digital currency backed by law and issued by the CBN as a legal tender. It is the digital form of the Naira used as cash.
Aside from transacting, Emefiele said Nigerians can also open an eNaira wallet on any phone of their choice through the designated USSD code.
According to him, Nigerians will only have to dial *997# from their phones to carry out transactions on their phones.
The CBN boss announced these at the Grand Finale of the 2022 eNaira Hackathon in Abuja on Thursday.
“Nigerians, both banked and unbanked, will be able to open an eNaira wallet and conduct transactions by simply dialling *997 from their phones.

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