The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stated that the yet-to-be-launched eNaira will have a new add-on that will allow customers to complete transactions with mobile phones that do not have Internet access.
In a document titled Design paper for the eNaira, the apex bank revealed that maximizing the value and use cases of the nation’s digital currency will rely heavily on gadgets with Internet capabilities.
The CBN announced a few months ago that it will launch eNaira on October 1, 2021, but it later postponed the launch date without providing a new date.
This digital currency, which is anticipated to encourage cashless policies, is likely to become operational when the central bank prohibits the trade of uncontrolled digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others in the country.
The eNaira will be brought into the country under the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), which will be an electronic record or digital token of the local currency produced and regulated by the monetary authority.
According to the CBN, “the eNaira thus risks further alienating sections of the populace that are ignorant, lack exposure and access to internet services or digital gadgets.”
Following a recent publication that showed that 35% of the nation’s adult population, or approximately 37.1 million people, were illiterate, the apex bank is introducing the new feature to the eNaira.
To avoid losing adoption of the digital currency among this portion of the public, the CBN said that the bank has made inclusiveness a core design feature of the eNaira.
This principle, according to the central bank, has enabled the bank to focus on simplicity and convenience of use of the e-Naira, ensuring that Nigerians without Internet-capable phones can access the digital service.
The CBN stated that the eNaira would supplement existing payment options like as mobile banking apps, POS terminals, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), fast response code, and Internet banking.
According to a recent assessment by the GSMA, a global industry organization that promotes the interests of mobile network providers, 19% of Nigerians do not have access to mobile broadband coverage.
In its design paper, the central bank picked the account-based CBDC model for the eNaira in order to promote inclusive access while simultaneously ensuring the integrity of the financial system.
“At its heart, the account-based CBDC model matches the progress made on the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, which facilitates access to financial services by leveraging last-mile networks to identify users and provide banking services through channels like as PoS and USSD,” the CBN stated.
“Through the account based model, the CBN wants to allow access by leveraging Nigeria’s existing identity infrastructure, including as the BVN, NIN, TIN, and so on, to uniquely identify individuals and business entities.”
“Specifically, identity frameworks such as the NIN will enable access for the financially excluded because they can be individually identified, allowing financial services to be provided.”
These identity systems will contribute to a strong KYC framework that would allow access to all Nigerians.”
The CBN also stated that this would help boost cross-border payments and address difficulties related to the dollarization of the economy, as Visa, a payments provider, recently stated that the simplicity of establishing CBDCs would decide the viability of digital currencies.