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E-Naira: Beaming The Searchlight On The Prospects



Adeniyi Israel Adekunle

As a result of the rising patronage of cryptocurrencies, governments around the world have begun to give a rethink of the idea of digital currencies. Countries like China, Switzerland, India and Turkey amongst others have digitalized their currencies. With a teeming, young and tech-savvy population and adding to the fact that it was ranked in 2020 as the third largest user of cryptocurrencies in the world after the United States and Russia, Nigeria, as the Giant of Africa, has evolved its own digital currency.  Having been originally scheduled to be launched on October 1, 2021, the Nigerian digital currency – E-Naira, which is the first of its kind in Africa, was officially launched by the Central Bank of Nigeria on October 25, 2021. Although other African countries such as South Africa, Egypt, Ghana (which is currently testing its e-Cedi) and a few others are preparing to launch their digital currencies, the pioneer step taken by Nigeria, as a frontrunner, is undoubtedly a historic trail in Africa. Despite an array of questions, mixed reactions and befuddlement from the citizens, this financial development has come to stay, and is forever ingrained in Nigeria’s financial ecosystem. In this fourth industrial revolution, what possibilities and prospects does eNaira hold for Nigerians and the country at large? This article concisely examines the benefits of eNaira to the Nigerian citizenry and economy.

Basically, eNaira is the digital form of the physical Naira. This digital currency is a legal tender, which is issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). E-Naira complements the traditional Naira digitally. It serves as both a medium of exchange and a store of value. This scheme was piloted by the CBN to effectuate a less costly and more efficient means of payment, which will also engender financial inclusion of the unbanked population.

One of the major prospects anticipated from this monetary innovation is the solution of the extant inefficacies in the foreign remittance flow. Foreign remittance remains one of the viable sources of revenue for the Nigerian economy. Digital currency will avail Nigeria a leverage in terms of technological development, which is a solution for cross-border funds transfer. The advent of e-Naira will seamlessly facilitate a multi-currency cross-border payment process. This will in turn stimulate a galvanized flow of foreign remittance.

More importantly, not only will a digital currency like eNaira improve the flow of foreign remittance, this digital currency also has the potential to boost intra-African trade. Through a digitized trade finance, a unified payment system for cross-border trade can be actualized, especially within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Pragmatically, a digital currency like eNaira will enhance smooth processes in cross-border trade in terms of payment verification, resilient payment landscape, cash tokenization, decentralization and data integrity. This will apparently provide tremendous trade benefits for SMEs and entrepreneurs who are actors of these processes. Thus, economic progress is consequential.

Also, one of the objectives of the eNaira which are stated in the CBN’s White paper titled ‘Design Paper For The eNaira’ is financial inclusion. Put in another way, the eNaira proffers an avalanche of means to ensure that everyone is financially included in the financial system of the country. The digital currency is for everyone: individuals, households, businesses, institutions, organisations and governments at all levels. The eNaira will enhance the integration of the millions of Nigerians into banking. By this means, availability of economic resources will be strengthened. This will foster inclusive growth and help in the overall economic development of the underprivileged population. In other words, the emergence of eNaira will avail the Nigerian populace an enormous access to myriads of optimal financial services such as unified payment system, bank account management, peer-to-peer management and contactless payment.

Moreover, the emergence of the eNaira will considerably reduce the roles played by intermediary financial institutions and give the CBN more control over the citizens’ financial lives. The eNaira will bridge the gap between the CBN and the Nigerian citizens. This will also reduce the excesses of financial institutions on the citizens’ finances. Jadel Chidi, a blockchain analyst, opines thus:

There’s a direct link between the Central Bank and the individual who uses the eNaira but that will not put the other banks out of business. What I see is that the CBN will eventually create a portal where each eNaira user will be able to access their e-wallet through the database they already have with their bank.”

Additionally, the CBN has stated that the introduction of eNaira will help to enhance the government’s capacity to deploy targeted social interventions. Social and empowerment programme and scheme funds can be easily and seamlessly disbursed to the beneficiaries through the digital currency – eNaira. For instance, federal government schemes such as the National Social Investment Program (NSIP), N-power, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), Federal Government Housing Scheme and several others can be facilitated and their payments disbursed to the benefiting citizens through this digital currency. Thus, there will be smooth and easy access to these social funds by the citizenry without the hectic requirement of various destination bank accounts.

Among other benefits, the eNaira will help to improve the long-term value of the Nigerian currency since it is an alternative to the paper money. By this, the Nigeria will escape the constant and accelerating depreciation of its currency.  More likely, through a digitized currency, there will be elimination of third party in transactions, thereby, reducing time and cost of transactions. Likewise, the eNaira will improve the country’s tax base given the predicted nationwide patronage of the currency. Conjointly, the eNaira will significantly curtail the occurrence of money laundering due to its security features that requires user verification and currency monitoring.

In conclusion, as central banks around the world are looking to create digital versions of their currencies, their Nigerian counterpart, the CBN, has blazed the trail and made landmark for others to follow. Beyond reasonable doubt, the eNaira has enormous potentials and prospects for unlocking the exponential economic growth of Nigeria. Although there is a cloud of doubts regarding the eNaira and the consistency of the CBN rules, a tough but successful path lies ahead the future of this digital currency.



[Adeniyi Israel Adekunle is an undergraduate student of the Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin. He is also the Director of Litigation of the Equity Chambers, Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin. He can be reached via  for commentaries and feedbacks on the article.]



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