The CBN’s battle for a cashless Nigeria
Nigeria's cashless policy. Source: Stears Business

During the lockdown, some retailers refused to accept cash.

A payment option that has been so ingrained in our culture was suddenly "non-grata."

Indigenous physical retailers like Ebeano rejected it. And Jumia, an e-commerce platform, further encouraged online payments by giving a 10% discount if consumers used digital payment channels.

The change was not unique to Nigeria. A few weeks into the rapid spread of COVID-19, the World Health Organisation recommended going cashless [the use of less cash in an economy] to limit the spread of the disease. 

Before the pandemic, though, there had been a growing demand for cash globally. Only countries like South Korea and Sweden had a very low proportion of transactions settled in cash at 14% and 20%, respectively, according to the 2018 World Cash Report (WCR).

But central banks across the world have been trying to go cashless. Their focus shifted to enabling new technologies

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Adesola Afolabi

Adesola Afolabi

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