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Nigeria Top Retail Central Bank Digital Currency Leaderboard

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Monday, May 16th, 2022
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PwC’s 2022 Global CBDC Index and Stablecoin Overview has ranked Nigeria at the top of the retail leaderboard, recognizing the work done by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in developing and deploying the eNaira, a digital form of the domestic currency.

Launched October 2021, the eNaira is the culmination of several years of research work by the central bank. The retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) is intended to usher in a monetary system that’s more inclusive, improve access to digital financial services, and enhance the efficiency of payments.

The first CBDC to be deployed in Africa, the eNaira is set to support the country’s target to raise levels of financial inclusion from 64% in 2020 to 95% by 2024, and to increase Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) by US$29 billion over the next 10 years.

So far, uptake of the digital currency has been promising with 7,300 downloads of the eNaira wallet per day in Q1 2022. In Q2 2022, app downloads are projected to accelerate to about 10,000 downloads per day, a source told local newspaper Vanguard earlier this month.

The PwC Global CBDC Index and Stablecoin Overview 2022, the second edition of the index, charts the readiness and adoption of CBDCs around the world, measuring central banks’ progress and stance on digital currency development in both a retail and wholesale context.

Nigeria’s lead on the retail CBDC chart is closely followed by the Bahamas, the first country in the world to officially launch a retail CBDC called the Sand Dollar back in October 2020, and Mainland China, the first major economy to pilot a retail CBDC in 2020.

As of late 2021, China’s retail CBDC pilot, which has been running in several major cities and provinces including Shenzhen, Shanghai and Chengdu, recorded 261 million individual wallets being set up and CNY 87.5 billion (US$13.78 billion) worth of transactions being made.

Nigeria is one of the three new entries in the 2022 Retail CBDC Index Top 10, alongside Jamaica, which plans to launch the digital Jamaican dollar this year after a successful pilot in 2021, and Thailand, which will begin testing its retail CBDC in late 2022.

These three new entries replace Cambodia, Ecuador and Turkey. Cambodia was removed from the list because its Bakong project is defined as a digital payment system, rather than a CBDC. Ecuador cancelled its Dinero electronico project and the initiative has not been included on the central bank’s agenda for these past couple of years. And Turkey fell outside top 10 as other jurisdictions gained more maturity points.

Source: Fintech Africa

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