eNaira, the recently introduced digital currency of the Central Bank of Nigeria, is rapidly gaining acceptance, especially in the northern part of Nigeria, as the Nigerian apex bank makes financial inclusion one of its top priorities.

Google trends indicate that Africa’s first central bank digital currency has its strongest interest in the core northern part of Nigeria, with Borno leading with a perfect score of 100, followed by Sokoto, Gombe, Taraba, and Zamfara.

Ironically Lagos, Nigeria’s major economic hub, misses out of the top 25 on eNaira interest.

eNaira expansion to the grassroots, unbanked, underbanked, and banked will rule the banking market in the year 2022. With the launch of the eNaira, the apex bank had raised the innovation bar within the past year.

The eNaira is similar to the physical naira in a wallet stored electronically, except that it is digital. eNaira bills are backed and issued by the CBN like paper naira bills, but they do not bear interest.

Three months after its public launch, the available statistics and international attention it has thus far attracted, suggest that it has been accepted in Africa’s biggest economy.

Nigeria’s embrace of the eNaira validates statements made by Governor Godwin Emefiele that the CBN is the custodian of the eNaira Speed Wallet and is committed to its continuous digital upgrades and protection from hackers.

Even though eNaira Speed Wallet Account registration is simple, it has inbuilt security steps that ensure that account holders’ information is protected.

Moreover, most of the active consumer wallets belong to the top 10 financial brands in Africa’s most populated country. Guaranty Trust Bank, Nigeria’s most valuable bank by market value beats out the others by a wide margin.

In terms of consumer wallets, GTB is the leading bank in Nigeria with more than 30% of all active consumer wallets.

There are seven banks with the highest number of activated consumer wallets: Access Bank, Zenith Bank, First Bank, UBA, Polaris Bank, and Ecobank. As of the end of November 2021, more than 2,000 merchant wallets were active, with about 20% residing with Ecobank.

Union Bank, Stanbic IBTC, and Ecobank are the leading banks in merchant adoption.

The top six banks in merchant adoption are Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Union Bank, First Bank, UBA, and Polaris Bank. In this order, Keystone Bank, GTBank, and Wema Bank round up the top 10 banks.

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