According to reports in the Nigerian Press, the Central Bank of Nigeria plans to launch a pilot for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) this year, according to Rakiya Mohammed, the Bank’s IT Director.
“The plan to launch a digital currency is for Nigeria to join the league of other nations like China. It is going to help us accentuate the financial inclusion strategy that we are behind schedule at only 60 percent. It is going to simplify payments, as well as reduce the cost of international payments,” said Mohammed.
She continued, “It will also reduce the cost of cash management. Anyone with a phone can do transactions seamlessly. The pilot is to be launched before the end of the year. We will announce the programme in due course.”
However, she differentiated a potential CBDC from cryptocurrencies which remain banned in Nigeria.
Last week, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana confirmed it’s exploring a CBDC. It joins other African states investigating the topic such as Morocco, South Africa, and Egypt (as of 2018).
The potential to use a CBDC for cross border payments is creeping up the agenda, with multiple experiments, including the latest one between France and Switzerland.