• Thu. Mar 30th, 2023

    CBN pushes further Nigeria’s electronic payment system, unveils “AFRIGO”


    Jan 26, 2023

    In another significant move to strengthen the national payments system and deepen the usage of electronic platforms in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday formally unveiled the Nigerian National Domestic Card Scheme, known as AfriGo.

    the unveiling of the new payment platform reputed to be the first Central Bank-led domestic card scheme in Africa was performed by the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, in a virtual event on Thursday in Abuja.
    Emefiele said the new card scheme, undertaken in collaboration with the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS), would provide more options for domestic consumers, while also promoting the delivery of services in a more innovative, cost-effective and competitive manner.

    “the scheme is important to plug in the gap that has remained in the economy since the introduction of the cashless policy, and will integrate the informal segment of our economy, reduce shadow banking, bring more Nigerians into the formal financial services with an attendant diversification of deposit portfolio which will further strengthen the stability of the banking industry,” he said.

    Although he noted that the penetration of card payments in Nigeria has grown tremendously over the years, the CBN governor observe that many Nigerians were still excluded from the financial system.
    The challenges of financial inclusion in the country, he pointed out, were the high cost of card services as a result of foreign exchange requirements of international card schemes, as well as the inability of existing card products to address local peculiarities of the Nigerian market.

    While assuring that the National Domestic card would be accessible to all Nigerians as well as address most of the country’s local peculiarities, Emefiele said its introduction was not to prevent international service providers from continuing to provide services in Nigeria.

    Rather, he said it was aimed at promoting access to domestic consumers, whilst also promoting the delivery of services in a more innovative, cost-effective and competitive manner.
    The Deputy Governor (Financial System Stability) at the CBN, Aishah Ahmad, said the Nigerian National domestic card Scheme would lead to the sovereignty of data, save cost on card transactions, reduce foreign exchange pressure and present new opportunities for the Nigerian economy.\

    Ahmad, who doubles as the Chairman of the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), further said the card scheme “heralds a new vista of opportunities for the card business, that several countries continue to recognise and leverage as they create their domestic card schemes to augment existing foreign payment card rails.

    The card scheme, she said, would also provide an essential platform for further innovation to solve some of the most pressing issues around financial inclusion, small and medium enterprises (SME) payments and trade facilitation primarily, supporting the drive for a robust digital economy for the Nigerian market, the African continent and the world.

    Giving an overview of the card, she said the name for the national domestic card scheme, AfriGO, was birthed in Nigeria with continental aspirations, as ‘AFRI’ means culture, ethnic diversity, bravery, innovation, and growth, while “GO” symbolises progress, empowerment, inclusivity, and future-forward amongst others.

    Also speaking, the Managing Director of NIBSS, Premier Owoh, listed the security features of the AfriGO card scheme, to include a smart chip, the CVV Code, and the NQR embedded signatures, amongst others.

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