Africa's first digital currency was used by 0.5% of Nigerians

The government of an African country that was the first to introduce the continent’s official central bank digital currency has had difficulty promoting it among the public

Africa's first digital currency was used by 0.5% of Nigerians

One year after launching Africa’s first digital national currency, eNaira, Nigeria’s central bank has attracted only half a percent of the population – about 1 million people out of more than two hundred million.

When the government launched the digital national currency (CBDC), it was counting on a much larger number of users. Politicians hoped to attract about 40 million people without bank accounts to use it, as well as gain a share of the multi-billion-dollar remittance flows and expand the country’s tax base, the article said.

At the same time, Nigerian authorities have rationed foreign currencies, banned commercial banks from doing business with cryptocurrency exchanges, and cracked down on the use of cryptocurrencies by the public.

But despite the financial regulator’s bans, Nigeria ranks 11th in the world in the adoption of cryptocurrency exchanges. Virtual currencies are of interest to residents of the African country as a means of protecting against inflation, which has reached a 17-year high, and eNaira does not solve this problem.

In addition, the authorities’ fight against cryptocurrencies creates confusion among many Nigerians, who see no difference between digital eNaira and other digital assets.

At the same time, commercial banks are not interested in promoting eNaira either, since they do not have access to such money loaded into users’ wallets, unlike conventional electronic funds.

One of the ways the government is trying to increase the popularity of eNaira is by asking drivers of popular three-wheeled cabs to accelerate the introduction of eNaira. Drivers and passengers of motorized rickshaws are offered a 5% discount for using the national currency.

Despite all the difficulties, Nigeria’s central bank remains optimistic. It aims to increase the number of users to 8 million by August next year.

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