The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that its eNaira has amassed a volume and value of over 200,000 transactions on its mobile wallet platform, worth N4.4 billion. With over 840,000 downloads and 270,000 active wallets made up of 252,000 consumer wallets and 17,000 merchant wallets.
The Bank’s Governor, Godwin Emefiele made this known at the CBN-African Fintech Foundry (AFF) Hackathon grand finale tagged: “eNaira—Africa’s Gateway to a Digital Economy”.
What you Need to Know:
PwC in its 2022 global Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) index and stablecoin overview noted that over 80% of central banks are exploring CBDCs for either wholesale or retail purposes. The eNaira which was launched in October 2021 was the first CBDC in Africa, ranked #1 in the PwC’s Top 10 Retail CBDC projects index.
The CBDC was built on 7 core principles namely: inclusivity, innovation, efficiency, resilience, scalability, transparency and proudly Nigerian. The goal according to the CBN is to strengthen the payments ecosystem while enhancing the financial inclusion framework.
The digital currency runs on a two-tiered CBDC architecture which sees the CBN on top with the responsibility of designing, issuing, storing and distributing the eNaira, while financial institutions, International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) and other financial agents fall the second tier, serving as retailers of to individuals and businesses.
The CBN-AFF Hackathon
The computer programming event is the first ever industry hackathon to ideate use cases for the CBDC eNaira powered by the CBN. Registration of interested startups and Fintech entrepreneurs began from June 27 to July 21, 2021 and saw an influx of 4,667 registrations comprising 4,082 males and 582 females.
The event saw three stages afterwards and ended with a grand finale on Thursday, August 18, 2022 at the International Conference Center, Abuja. Out of the over 4,000 applicants, the number of teams were trimmed down until the top 10 winners emerged; with team #67 taking the first place, team #69 second and team #70 third.
Consequently, the top 10 startups will move forward to join the AFF accelerator programme where they stand a chance to get funding from the organisation to build their businesses.
What the Organizers had to Say:
At the hackathon’s grand finale, the CBN Governor said: “the eNaira will make a significant positive difference to Nigeria and Nigerians. It was also developed to provide Nigerians with a cheap, safe and trusted means of payment. It is unlike the offline payments channels like agent networks, USSD, wearables, cards and near-field communication technology”
“The eNaira would give access to financial services to underserved and unbanked segments of the population,” he added.
Meanwhile, in an interview with NAN on August 14th, 2022, the head of the AFF, Daniel Awe, said: “the hackathon is a platform where innovators, developers, entrepreneurs, coders come together, to solve problems, to create innovative ideas.
“When we layer that on eNaira, it means we brought in different players within the ecosystem – developers, coders, innovators, entrepreneurs, to come up with different ideas, different use cases, that they can leverage on eNaira. This is so that the consumers of eNaira will now see the benefit of eNaira, they will have the opportunity to see the problem that eNaira will solve,” he added.
The African Fintech Foundry:
The African Fintech Foundry (AFF) is an Access Bank initiative that aims at nurturing and accelerating the growth of Fintech startups in Africa. It seeks to shore up the business capacity of startups, support business development, and facilitate access to capital, markets, customers and global innovation partners through guided ideations, hackathons and accelerator programs.
Since its inception in 2017, the Foundry has partnered with several other initiatives to provide mentorship-incubation, post-programme support, funding and design building to startups and businesses across Africa.
What to Expect:
“The second phase of the project has begun and is intended to drive financial inclusion by onboarding the unbanked and the underserved users leveraging offline channels. Hence, greater success is envisioned for the project with phase 2 expected to deliver more gains with the target of 8 million users based on estimation using the diffusion of innovation model,” —Emefiele.
The CBN Governor at the event announced that Nigerians will soon be able to open an eNaira wallet and conduct transactions by simply dialling *997# from their mobile phones.
Merchants and consumers with bank accounts will also be able to use NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP) to transfer and receive eNaira with any bank account, thus deepening the integration of the currency with existing National payment infrastructure.
Dr. Andrew S. Nevin, Financial Services Leader and Chief Economist at PwC Nigeria, believes that: “DLT has the potential to be a game changer for sustainable and inclusive development, particularly for countries in Africa.”
In the PwC CBDC index and stablecoin overview, he said: “CBDCs will transform the payment system, as low value-added transactions become possible in a costless and secure way for everyone. The success could also catalyze more complex and transformative CBDC uses, including Blockchain Identity Management, Land Registry, and Supply Chain Verification.
“As each of the use cases develops, we can bring more people into the economic and financial system and lift tens of millions out of poverty,” he added.