Nigeria launches digital currency eNaira to foster economic growth

President Muhammadu Buhari launched the central bank-backed digital currency on Monday

Nigeria’s CBDC pilot is now the second largest behind China’s digital yuan, and aims to digitise payments and increase financial inclusion in Africa’s most populous country.

Nigeria’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), the eNaira, launched today following an announcement by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhairi said the digital currency and the blockchain technology it uses can foster economic growth and increase the GDP of Africa’s biggest economy by $29 billion over the next 10 years.

Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele said that around 500 million eNaira (1.21 million) have already been minted in lieu of the digital currency going live.

In a press release on Saturday, the CBN said the eNaira’s launch “marks a major step forward in the evolution of money and the CBN is committed to ensuring that the eNaira, like the physical Naira, is accessible to everyone.”

CBDCs are rapidly gaining popularity worldwide, and Nigeria is the first African country to officially launch a sovereign-backed digital currency pilot.

With a population of 211 million, Nigeria’s CBDC trial now becomes the second largest behind China’s digital yuan. On top of that, over 62 percent of Nigerians are aged 24 or under, making the eNaira available to a largely digitally native population.

Development of the eNaira was carried out by fintech company Bitt, whose Digital Currency Management System is also behind the East Caribbean Central Bank’s digital currency DCash.

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