CBN: Transactions On eNaira App Hit N4 Billion – Emefiele

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Thursday revealed that financial transactions on the eNaira app have hit N4 billion since its launch on October 25, 2021.

Emefiele, who stated this at the grand finale of the 2022 eNaira Hackathon in Abuja, further disclosed that from next week, banked and unbanked Nigerians will be able to open an eNaira wallet and conduct transactions by simply dialling *997 from their phones.

“Shortly after this, both merchants and consumers with bank accounts can use the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement Scheme’s (NIBSS) Instant Payment (NIP) to transfer and receive eNaira to any bank account. This will further deepen the integration of the eNaira with the existing national payment infrastructure”, he said.

The CBN governor added that since the launch of the eNaira, downloads have reached 840,000 with about 270,000 active wallets; comprising over 252,000 consumer wallets and 17,000 merchant wallets.

“In addition, volume and value of transactions on the platform have been remarkable, reaching above 200,000 and N4 billion, respectively,” Emefiele noted.

According to the CBN governor, the second phase of the project has begun and it is intended to drive financial inclusion by boarding unbanked and underserved users by leveraging offline channels.

The second phase is also expected to deliver more gains with a target of about 8,000,000 active users based on estimations using the diffusion of innovation model.

Emefiele revealed that the eNaira hackathon recorded a sizeable interest from young and innovative Nigerians with a total of 4,667 registrations, comprising 4,082 male and 582 female applicants.

“From an initial cohort of over 105 groups that made the quarter-finals and 75 teams that progressed to the semi-finals, the Hackathon has reached its climax today with 20 teams in the finals from which the top 10 teams would emerge as prize winners.

“This further corroborates the fact that Nigerians, both within and outside the country, possess innovative ideas and are willing and ready to leverage on exciting opportunities that the eNaira presents for enhancing digital financial services and contributing to national development,” he said.

The CBN governor added that enabling private sector innovation remains one of the three foundational principles of Central bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

“The Hackathon is an initiative that creates a collaborative environment for experts with a diverse set of skills to drive sustained innovation geared towards making the eNaira the pinnacle for digital financial services and the gateway to the digital economy.

“It is intended to seek solutions that would: drive financial inclusion, SME growth and the creation of start-ups; facilitate cross-border trades and transfers as well as international remittances and FX exchanges; effective implementation of welfare-inclined government programmes; and enhance efficiency in the interbank market. “Today’s event is targeted at providing an engagement with critical stakeholders in the financial technology space to deepen the link between eNaira and Fintechs.”

Emefiele added that the eNaira remains a journey as seeks to help the economy transit to a digital and chart the course for innovation in the financial sector.

He added that the digital currency would help in complementing the various diversification and digitisation initiatives of the federal government including the launch of the Nigeria Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).

Also speaking, the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy of the CBN, Dr Kingsley Obiora, hailed the eNaira initiative as it has grown the value of electronic transactions from N393 billion in 2014 to N2.4 trillion today.

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“In South Korea, 77per cents no longer use cash to do the payment, while in the Philippines, it is 30 per cent. In Nigeria too, we are also seeing the same decline in the use of cash, the minting of currencies in the CBN has been reducing in the last couple of years.

“So, if you look at this movement, you will realize that the Central Banks in the world are responding to the yearnings of citizens which is why citizens in 96 per cent of Central Banks in the world are either working on digital currencies or they have done so already,” he added.

In his remarks, Daniel Aweh, the Group Head, African FinTech Foundry, a technical partner to CBN hailed the apex bank for transforming from a traditional regulator to a smart, innovative one.

“The Hackathon is a platform that brings entrepreneurs, coders, product managers, to solve problems and build new business models.

“All over the world, there has been disagreement between innovators and regulators because regulators usually look at the impact on financial stability as well as the impact of those innovators on consumers as well as the risk while the innovators look at the opportunity in their ideas.

“However, this CBN is different as it has over the years partnered with innovators that will create job employment and bring value.

“At African Fintech Foundry, we are honoured to have worked with CBN, from over 5,000 applications which is the highest application ever on the continent. Subsequently, it has been trimmed down to 20 which was a difficult task.

“For those who could not make it, never quit and for those who will emerge winners, it is a morale booster to do more,” he explained.

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