Nigeria Launches Domestic Card Scheme in Cashless Bid

Nigeria Launches Domestic Card Scheme in Cashless Bid (News Central TV)

In an effort to further its goal of turning the largest economy in Africa into a cashless society and saving the nation foreign transaction costs, Nigeria’s central bank on Thursday launched a domestic card program to compete with global cards like Mastercard and Visa.

Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), made the announcement in response to the bank’s decision to phase out older, larger value bank notes last year.

Emefiele stated at the virtual launch of the “AfriGo” card program that even while card payments have become more prevalent in Nigeria over time, many people are still left out.

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“The challenges that have limited the inclusion of Nigerians include the high cost of card services as a result of foreign exchange requirements of international card schemes and the fact that existing card products do not address local peculiarities of the Nigerian market,” said Emefiele.

Emefiele stated that Nigeria was joining China, Russia, India, and Turkey in developing a domestic card program. AfriGo is controlled by the CBN and Nigerian banks.

He stated that international card issuers like Mastercard and Visa would continue to operate in Nigeria.

“Rather, it (AFRIGO) is aimed at providing more options for domestic consumers whilst also promoting the delivery of services in a more innovative, cost effective and competitive manner,” he said.

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Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is home to more than 200 million people, the majority of whom continue to utilize cash since they reside in rural areas devoid of banks.

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