Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari launched the country’s new digital eNaira currency on Monday as Africa’s largest economy looked to tap into the growing popularity of virtual money and cryptocurrencies.
With the eNaira, Nigeria becomes the first in sub-Saharan Africa to fully launch a digital currency and joins China and a few other countries using or piloting central bank-regulated electronic tender.
The digital currency aims to foster economic growth through better economic activities, increase remittances, improve financial inclusion and make monetary policy more effective.
At the launch on Monday in Abuja, President Buhari said the adoption of the Central Bank of Nigeria Digital Currency (CBDC) can increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $29 billion over the next 10 years.
The digital currency, he said, has its underlying technology, called blockchain, that would enable the government to send direct payments to citizens eligible for specific welfare programmes as well as foster cross border trade.
”Let me note that aside from the global trend to create Digital Currencies, we believe that there are Nigeria-specific benefits that cut across different sectors of, and concerns of the economy.