By Adedapo Adesanya
One of Nigeria’s fintech companies, Clickatell, has collaborated with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to launch a USSD channel for eNaira, the country’s Central Bank (CBDC) digital currency, as part of the the country’s desire to make basic banking services accessible to all Nigerians, thereby promoting financial inclusion.
eNaira was launched in October 2021 when President Muhammadu Buhari said Africa’s first central bank-backed digital currency would help boost remittances, foster cross-border trade and help his government make payments easier. social assistance payments.
With financial inclusion being at the core of eNaira’s goals, President Buhari also said that he believes the CBDC will increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $29 billion over the next 10 years.
Speaking on the matter, Ms. Uzo Nwani, Clickatell’s Commercial Director for West Africa, said, “The introduction of the USSD short code enables unbanked Nigerians, many of whom do not have smartphones, to access cashless banking and is a big win for the declared. aims to provide meaningful financial inclusion. Clickatell’s role in making this a reality has been one of the most significant achievements of our engagements in Nigeria.
CBN works with partners who are committed to leveraging this new technology for continuous innovation to deliver exciting new features
The new USSD channel allows Nigerians to use the short code *997# to create their eNaira wallet.
Using this short code, users can easily check balances and transfer funds. They will also be able to purchase airtime or data for themselves or for their friends and family. Backing up their wallets is also easy on the channel and users can check and update their information, change and reset their pins, or even block the wallet if needed.
“The USSD channel is an essential part of our journey towards realizing our vision of financial inclusion. We see eNaira as a leap forward in the evolution of money.
“So CBN is working with committed partners to leverage this new technology for continued innovation to deliver exciting new features,” said CBN Deputy Governor for Economic Policy, Mr. Kingsley Obiora.
Due to the rapid growth of smartphones, most Nigerians are currently using feature phones, which is a great argument for the USSD offer. The CBN is counting on the new channel to make rapid inroads to bring most of the 30% of Nigerians unbanked into the formal banking system.
As part of its efforts, the CBN is working hard to increase awareness and education around the new digital currency. It offered an N200 airtime incentive for the first 100,000 users to use the eNaira USSD feature.
Looking ahead, Ms. Nwani says the Clickatell solution ideally positions the system for new collaborative additions to bolster eNaira services.
“Our Chat Flow product provides a robust platform to support rapid innovation. Digital currencies offer measurable benefits to customers, including lower costs and a simple user experience, and adding new innovative features over time will attract more customers.
“There is no doubt that the CBN has set the benchmark for financial inclusion in Africa, and we look forward to being part of that journey,” she added.