Nigeria is leading the race in Africa when it comes to the adoption of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Its Central Bank launched the eNaira (CBDC) in October 2021.
CBDCs are digital tokens, similar to cryptocurrency, issued by a central bank. They are pegged to the value of that country’s fiat currency.
In Nigeria, the Central Bank has been at the forefront of ensuring that Nigerians begin to embrace the eNaira, which has not gained the traction the authorities expect. But it currently has 200,000 subscribers, the apex bank said.
CBN cites financial inclusion as one of its main reasons for rolling out eNaira. But the eNaira only works with digital wallets available on the Google Play Store and Apple Store. Not everybody in Nigeria has a smartphone. Imagine if the eNaira was built without using a smartphone.
Nonetheless, the financial regulator has not relented in making sure that the eNaira becomes more generally acceptable.
Recently, it organized a hackathon in collaboration with the Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF). It has also introduced an Unstructured Supplementary (USSD code).
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims in a blog post that although governments issue CBDCs for a variety of reasons, several benefits could be particularly significant for the region.
“Promoting financial inclusion is the first step. CBDCs, especially if made for offline use, could provide financial services to people who previously lacked bank accounts.
Digital transactions can be carried out for little or no money in remote locations without internet connectivity. “
Findings by TechEconomy reveal that countries like Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya are yet to officially launch their CBDCs. Some of these countries.
Some of these countries, like Ghana and Tanzania, are the latest African countries making preparations to launch or test their viability. For example, Ghana’s CBDC, eCedi, is heating up the race to roll out e-cash on the continent.
The Bank of Ghana, by contrast, is testing a general-purpose or retail CBDC, the e-Cedi, which can be used by anyone with either a digital wallet app or a contactless smart card that can be used offline.
As part of the second stage of Project Khokha, the South African Reserve Bank is experimenting with a wholesale CBDC that can only be used by financial institutions for interbank payments.
Additionally, the nation is taking part in a cross-border experiment with the central banks of Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia.
Currently, the Bank of Uganda is carrying out preliminary studies on whether or not a central bank digital currency should be considered, especially exploring what policy objectives
The Ugandan government has not banned cryptocurrencies but has concerns about risks from the technology including consumer protection and financial inclusion.
Nigeria was the second country after the Bahamas to roll out a CBDC.
From what we have gathered, several sub-Saharan African central banks are exploring or in the pilot phase of a digital currency, following Nigeria’s October introduction of the eNaira, last year.
In the next few months, we expect countries like Ghana and South Africa to fully launch their digital currencies.
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