On Wednesday, Africa-focused financial technology company and Africa’s most valued unicorn Flutterwave announced the availability of Nigeria’s central bank digital currency – the e-naira, on its platform for merchants.
The e-Naira launched in October last year, and according to a recent disclosure by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele, the e-Naira speed wallet app has recorded 200,000 users and ₦4 billion worth of transactions since it launched. This disclosure came during a recently held e-Naira Hackathon event, a project born out of the collaboration between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the African Fintech Foundry (AFF) aimed at bringing together African entrepreneurs, developers, designers, problem solvers, critical thinkers, and enthusiasts, to help raise adoption of Nigeria’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) – the e-Naira.
Flutterwave’s latest onboarding of the e-naira on its platform could, therefore, help boost the adoption of the digital currency. When the e-naira first launched, the fear surrounding it was the rate at which Nigerians would adopt it into their daily lives. The target for the e-naira, Africa’s first central bank digital currency was 8 million users for the speed wallet app and this milestone is yet to be reached.
Flutterwave, however, revealed that more than 1 million merchants now accept the e-naira as a means of payment from their customers and added in a statement that “We are confident that this number will grow further as we continue to innovate and expand.”
Since its inauguration, e-Naira has reached 840,000 downloads, with about 270,000 active wallets comprising more than 252,000 consumer wallets and 17,000 merchant wallets. In addition, volume and value of transactions have been remarkable reaching above 200,000 and ₦4 billion naira respectively,” the CBN’s governor Godwin Emefiele said during the e-naira Hackathon event.
He also revealed that the aim of the e-naira was to attract and serve people who didn’t have bank accounts after a first-stage adoption that saw 850,000 downloads by bank customers. “The e-naira 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 offline payment channels like agent networks, USSD, wearables, cards, and near-field communication technology. The e-naira would give access to financial services to underserved and unbanked segments of the population,” he said.
The e-naira has also been made available to people who do not have access to the internet via USSD. In order to promote financial inclusion and give Nigerians access to unlimited opportunities through financial services, the new code *997# was introduced.“It captures the slogan ‘same naira, more possibilities, and is designed to positively impact the lives of Nigerians, and transform the economy. The e-Naira is expected to enhance inclusion, support poverty reduction, enable direct welfare disbursement to citizens, support a resilient payments ecosystem, and improve availability and usability of central bank money,” the central bank said.