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  Nigeria’s central bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has launched a national domestic card scheme called AfriGo. The scheme was announced in October 2022 at the Bankers’ Committee and aims to drive financial inclusion and control card financial data within Nigeria. The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, stated that this move will also serve as a symbol of national pride for adopters.
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The scheme, which is the first of its kind in Africa, aims to disrupt the triopoly of card payment schemes in Nigeria’s card payments market, which is currently dominated by global players like Verve, Mastercard and Visa.
“The national domestic card avails us the sovereignty of our data. Secondly, it comes at lower costs,”
he said. With the annual value of card transactions in the Nigeria cards and payments market finished at $18.2 billion in 2021, Nigeria remains a huge market for players in the card payments market, which is largely dominated by global players like Mastercard and Visa, with Verve by Interswitch following behind. These global companies provide central payment networks which they link to debit and credit cards to facilitate and enable cash transactions with the card. The cards can then be granted to customers by banks, financial institutions, or even shopping malls. By breaking the triopoly and establishing a national card payment scheme, the CBN, in partnership with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), is positioning itself to disrupt and possibly dominate a fast-growing market. The CBN cites reduced operating costs and optimised foreign exchange usage as the hallmarks of its latest fintech foray.
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“At this time when foreign exchange challenges persist globally, it is important for me to say that we have come up with this card to ensure that all online card transactions will now, effective immediately, begin to go on the Nigerian national domestic system,”
Emefiele announced.
“NIBSS and CBN will work together to make sure foreign exchange is charged for only international transactions made on Visa and Mastercards as we have it now. This is so because many of the cards we use currently charge in foreign currency. However, with the launch of the national domestic card, all domestic transactions are to be carried out on the national domestic card scheme,”
he noted, stating further on the payment of forex. This unique scheme, which is the first of its kind in Africa, has been implemented by other successful economies such as China, India, Brazil, and Turkey. In India, the government-supported Rupay card payment system is highly popular due to its cost-effectiveness and government support. So far, over 600 million Rupay cards have been distributed. Speaking on how this move could curb competition from global players, Emefiele said,
“The Nigerian market is vast and the current participants have done so much in the last 12 years to transform the ecosystem. Yet there is much ground to cover as millions of Nigerians are still without cards to consummate transactions.”
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“I am convinced that the national domestic card scheme will make this a reality in the coming months. We can no longer neglect the vast majority of Nigerians,”
he added. The CBN, in partnership with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), aims to reduce operating costs and optimize foreign exchange usage. The new scheme will allow for online card transactions to now go on the Nigerian national domestic system, with only international transactions remaining on Visa and Mastercard. Featured Image Source: Premium Times NG
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This article was first published on 27th January 2023


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

Comments (2)

2 thoughts on “Nigeria’s Central Bank Launches AfriGo”

  • This is a topic close to my heart cheers, where are your contact details though?

  • Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

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