An official with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) told a local news outlet that the central bank is hoping to launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC) “before the end of the year. Director of IT for CBN, Rakiya Mohammed, announced during an online news briefing at a Bankers Committee meeting. She stated that the bank has been looking into the matter for the better part of two years and feels confident they have a viable product to launch before 2022.
Central Bank of Nigeria plans to launch a CBDC pilot scheme this year.
“Before the end of the year, the Central Bank will be making a special announcement and possibly launching a pilot scheme in order to be able to provide this kind of currency to the populace,” Rakiya Mohammed stated. She also noted that CBN’s digital currency would not replace local naira cash notes but instead act as a complementary currency option. The digital currency is also expected to make foreign remittances easier for Nigeria. The African country has plans to launch a pilot program in select areas before a nationwide release.
Nigeria does not want to be left out in the CBDC race.
The Director of IT for CBN added that the CBN estimates that 80% of central banks globally are looking into digital currencies, and Nigeria does not want to be left in the dust. Whether the 80% estimate is accurate, what is true is that several African countries are in similar stages of planning for CBDCs. Earlier, Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan requested that the Central Bank of Tanzania begin looking into CBDCs. Ghana has also said that it was one of the first apex banks on the continent to introduce its CBDC.