Nigeria officially launched a digital version of its currency, eNaira, after its launch was delayed in early October, the president announced Monday. Muhammadu Buhari.
With this launch, Nigeria, the first economy in Africa in terms of GDP and the most populous country on the continent, with more than 200 million inhabitants, is a pioneer in the continent, along with Ghana, which has been testing its E-Cedi since September, as a new form of monetary exchange.
We have become the first country in Africa and one of the first in the world to have introduced a digital currency for our citizens, “said Buhari.
“Lately, the use of currencies in business and payments has decreased,” he explained. According to him, the trend has been “exacerbated since the pandemic began and with the birth of a new digital economy.”
The eNaira It seeks to facilitate online transactions, the president said, but it should also “attract more and more people and businesses from the formal sector and thereby increase the country’s tax revenue,” he said.
Around the world, central banks are looking to create digital versions of their currencies in the face of the growth of payments made online and to compete with cryptocurrencies that escape state control or global regulators.
Cryptocurrencies are very popular in Nigeria, which in 2020 ranked third in number of virtual currency users, after the United States and Russia, according to a study by the Statista cabinet.
With them, Nigerians try to avoid the constant depreciation of the naira in recent years and can more easily receive money from the diaspora or send remittances.
Nevertheless, eNaira is not a cryptocurrency, but rather the digital equivalent of the Nigerian physical currency, the naira. It is issued by the central bank and is subject to the official exchange rate.
Nigerians can download the app eNaira and fill your mobile wallets using your bank accounts.
Last year, China became the first major economy to launch a trial version of a digital currency. Since then, at least five countries have launched their virtual currencies and fourteen others, including Sweden and South Korea, are in the pilot phase, according to the US think tank Atlantic Council.