The CBN Says Nigerians Without Internet-enabled Phones Will Be Able To Use The e-Naira

Associated with digital currencies is a wallet to store and make transactions with. These wallets are like physical wallets and just like how physical wallets can be used to hold and spend money, these virtual wallets can also perform these functions. One peculiarity about virtual or digital wallets is that they exist on the internet space and they can be only be accessed on an internet-enabled phone or device.

The e-Naira promised to launch its central bank digital currency (CBDC) – the e-Naira on the first of this month, but this was postponed due to reasons best known to the apex bank. The e-Naira is, however, still on its way and a launch is still expected to happen any time soon. The Central Bank of Nigeria already launched an e-Naira wallet that’ll be able to store the imminent e-Naira.

One of the major functions of the e-Naira is to address the country’s financial inclusion gap by providing access to financial services to all, but the e-Naira wallet and its mode of operation may be causing worry to some groups of people. There is a handful of the Nigerian population that do not have internet-enabled phones that are needed to access e-Naira’s wallet when the central bank digital currency becomes fully operational. The apex bank has, however, come out to address this issue.

In a new document titled “Design paper for the e-Naira”, the apex bank has confirmed and clarified that Nigerians will be able to use the e-Naira even if they do not have an internet-enabled phone, or if for instance, they cannot lay hands on any internet-enabled device. The document made it very clear that when designing the e-Naira and its mode of operation, the Central Bank of Nigeria took into consideration every Nigerian citizen irrespective of educational background and social status. The document also suggests that the apex bank is aware of the country’s situation in respect to access to the internet and data costs and this is why the e-Naira was designed to be used even in situations of access to the internet. With this document, the Central Bank of Nigeria has given Nigerians the confidence that the e-Naira will be useful in whatever situation they find themselves in.

“To mitigate this risk, the bank factored in the need for inclusiveness as part of the core design principle of the e-Naira. This principle has enabled the bank to focus on simplicity and ease of use, ensuring that Nigerians without Internet-enabled phones can access the service”, the Central Bank said explaining that for Nigerians to maximize the use of the e-Naira and get the best service and experience, they would need access to the internet.

Ahead of the e-Naira launch, commercial banks have begun to sensitize their customers about the e-Naira and how they can maximize its use. Some commercial banks have even begun to integrate a wallet to hold the e-Naira across their banking platforms such as mobile apps.

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