… First Govt.–Operated Card Scheme In Africa
The Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday officially unveiled the Nigerian National Domestic Card Scheme – AFRIGO, in conjunction with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) Plc, the Bankers Committee, and other financial ecosystem stakeholders. AfriGO card is operated by AfriGOPay Financial Services Limited (AFSL), a national domestic card scheme duly licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The Nigerian National Domestic Card Scheme is a robust in-country scheme tailored to address the specific requirements of Nigeria’s payment industry and provide innovative offerings to empower Africa’s payment ecosystem. With the implementation of this scheme, the industry will reap benefits which include improved transaction security, data sovereignty, better pricing opportunities, interchange fee reduction, reduced demand for FX and less pressure on the Naira whilst developing local skills in the card and payment space. Other advantages include a boost to financial inclusion, value retention, flexibility not to mention it is a source of national pride.
Speaking during the event, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele expressed the central bank’s commitment to ensuring a secure national payment system in Nigeria. He stated: “Millions of Nigerians are still unable to make use of payment cards to consummate transactions. We can no longer neglect the vast majority of Nigerians whose daily payment needs are micro payments. We need to capture them in national statistics, to further understand their transaction dynamics and properly target interventions. Indeed, AfriGO presents an opportunity to integrate the informal segments of our economy and bring more Nigerians into the formal financial services system.”
The Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria and Chairman, NIBSS PLC, Mrs. Aishah Ahmad enthused: “Today is a strategic turning point for payments in Nigeria and a source of deep national pride. AfriGO is Africa’s most promising domestic card scheme given the rapid growth of electronic payments in Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation. It is a monumental development for several reasons, not in the least is the fact that it gives us sovereignty over our data, saves cost for the industry, and presents a new vista of opportunities for the card business”. In her presentation, she further detailed the rationale behind the name AfriGO, which represents the continents ethnic diversity combined with progress, empowerment and inclusiveness laced with Nigeria’s predominant green.
Furthermore, the Managing Director of NIBSS, Mr. Premier Oiwoh, highlighted the key benefits of the scheme to Nigerians. According to him: “One of the major values of the scheme is the reduced operating cost as well as other benefits such as a secured platform, loyalty scheme, credit cards, and virtual cards amongst others”.
The launch of the Nigeria National Domestic Scheme will present a new payment era in the Nigerian payment ecosystem and unveils the unique opportunities presented by the Nigerian financial industry.
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