Nigeria Launches Domestic Card Scheme

    Nigeria Launches Domestic Card Scheme
    Last updated Jan 28, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]


    • On Thursday, Nigeria's central bank (CBN) announced the launch of its domestic card scheme AfriGo to rival foreign cards like Mastercard and Visa, providing more options for domestic consumers in a "cost-effective and competitive manner."[1]
    • CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele stressed at the launch that this move is in line with global trends, citing China, India, Russia, and Turkey as countries that have also set up domestic card schemes.[2]
    • This comes as Abuja reportedly aims to make Africa's biggest economy a cashless society and save the country foreign transaction fees, following last year's CBN decision to discontinue old higher denomination bank notes.[3]
    • Banks will accept old naira notes until Jan. 31, but retailers and many outlets began rejecting them on Friday, causing concern among Nigerians as few new banknotes are available to customers, whose ATM daily withdrawal has been limited to 20k naira ($43.45).[4]
    • A lawsuit has been petitioned to Abuja's Federal High Court urging a three-week extension to the Jan. 31 deadline, arguing that the CBN failed to introduce redesigned 200, 500, and 1K naira banknotes into the financial system.[5]
    • Earlier this year, Nigeria announced it would ban cash withdrawals from government accounts starting on March 1, four days after the country's presidential election, reportedly to push toward a cashless economy and tackle illegal activity.[6]


    Narrative A

    This national domestic card scheme will integrate Nigeria's informal economy with more formal financial services, benefitting long-neglected Nigerians who need daily micro-payment needs. It will also advance the Central Bank's cashless policy, which has already helped the country's national banking and payment ecosystem by generating competition and attracting investments.

    Narrative B

    The Central Bank's latest push for a cashless economy, including AfriGo and the phasing out of old naira notes, hides a covert agenda to obstruct Nigeria's electoral process as the scarcity of new notes has dragged the country into chaos, with Gov. Emefiele once again evading the parliament's invitation to discuss this policy.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 10% chance that Nigeria will have a coup before 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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