#AfricaInFocus Is Nigeria ready for the eNaira?

Meeting of Minds

Nov 13 2021 • 20 mins

On 25th October 2021, Nigeria became the first African nation to launch a digital currency- the eNaira. At the official unveiling in Abuja, President Buhari said the eNaira could boost Nigeria’s gross domestic product by up to $29 billion over the next decade. The central bank will issue the digital currency directly to users, hoping to promote financial inclusion, facilitate diaspora remittances, foster cross border trade, among other advantages.

The launch comes nine months after the central bank banned cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, which were used to finance the #EndSARS protests, on the grounds that they posed a threat to the financial system and could fund terrorism.

Despite its alleged benefits, many Nigerians remain skeptical about the currency because of widespread distrust of the government. And bareley 72 hours after it went live, the eNaira speed wallet disappeared from google play store following bad reviews and low ratings. However, it’s up again.

So, what is the eNaira? What do Nigerians think about it? Will it solve the country’s monetary issues, and what are some of its potential risks? To answer these questions, Edith Magak speaks to Seun durojaiye, a Nigerian journalist, and Theophilus Oladipo, a FinTech attorney and consultant at Regcompass.

Written and produced by Edith Knight Magak – a writing fellow at African Liberty and literary journalist at Africa in Dialogue. She lives in Nairobi, Kenya. Follower her on Twitter