By Abdulkadir Kabiru
In a 2022 Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Global Index recently released by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) eNaira and the Sand Dollar of the Bahamas led the retail project indexes of central banks globally.
In the report, ‘The Race to Digital Money Is on’, PwC analysed and ranked the leading retail and wholesale CBDC projects, as well as evaluated the current stage of CBDC project development.
“Retail projects in the Index are led by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) eNaira, the first CBDC in Africa, and the Sand Dollar, issued by the Central Bank of the Bahamas as legal tender in October 2020, making Bahamas the first country to launch a CBDC,” the report said.
Interestingly, it also said that over 80 per cent of central banks were considering launching a CBDC or might have done so already.
The tremendous success recorded by the CBN with the launching of eNaira in October 2021 is further testament to CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele’s foresight and shrewdness.
Recall that Emefiele’s CBN introduced the eNaira as part of measures to deepen financial inclusion, integrate millions of unbanked Nigerians into the banking system and create a more secure alternative to unregulated virtual currencies sometimes used to perpetrate fraud and other criminalities. Despite the initial pessimism by some quarters, the eNaira app had recorded almost 600,000 downloads in less than four weeks of its introduction!
Experts believe that, thanks to Emefiele’s sagacity, Nigeria’s eNaira will most likely have a positive impact on CBDC development in other African countries where financial inclusion is regarded as an important part of economic development.
Just like other policies and programmes carried out by the CBN under his leadership, Emefiele has once again proved doubters wrong with the success being enjoyed by the eNaira.
Emefiele’s competence and focus, in the midst of several distractions by noisemakers, are not appreciated enough. From rumours of nursing a presidential ambition to mischief makers trying to dent his reputation and question is achievements, Emefiele has demonstrated the kind of maturity and level-headedness rare among his contemporaries in leadership positions.
On several occasions, Emefiele has reiterated his focus on his core role as chairman of Nigeria’s reserve bank, and the apex bank’s over 35 purpose-driven economic intervention programmes which were introduced by him and which continue to boost the nation’s economy.
Unlike public office holders who abandon their responsibilities and are distracted by personal ambitions, Emefiele continues to show sound judgment in piloting the affairs of the CBN. The success of the eNaira is yet another proof of the CBN governor’s leadership quality, competence and prescience.
Abdulkadir Kabiru from Kaduna