The Central Bank of Nigeria has made its intentions to launch a national domestic card scheme called AfriGo. This scheme was initially announced during a committee press briefing in October 2022 and introduces the central bank to the triopoly of card payment schemes in Nigeria’s card market.
According to Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, this scheme will drive financial inclusion and concentrate card financial data in Nigeria, as well as serve as a symbol of national pride for its adopters.
With the AfriGo card, Nigeria will have sovereignty over the data and it also comes at a lower cost.
In 2021, the annual value of card transactions in the Nigerian card and payment market was capped at $18.2 billion. Nigeria is a huge market for the players of the card market that is largely dominated by Mastercard and Visa and Verve by Interswitch.
These global companies provide a central payment network that they link to both debit and credit cards that enable and facilitate cash transactions with the card. These cards are then issued to customers by banks, financial institutions, or even shopping malls.
With the introduction of AfriGo, the CBN in partnership with Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) is aiming to disrupt and possibly dominate a fast-growing market.
The benefits of the AfriGo card include reduced operating costs and optimized foreign exchange uses.
At a time when foreign exchange challenges persist globally, it is important that Nigeria has come up with this card that will allow online transactions to begin to go on the Nigerian National domestic scheme.
This homegrown scheme is the first of its kind in Africa, but it is a route common to some top economies like China, India, Brazil, and Turkey.
This scheme was developed to address the specific pain points of the payment industry and provide customised innovative services.
AfriGOpay Financial Services Limited (AFSL), a NIBSS-affiliated organisation, is responsible for deploying and overseeing the adoption of the national domestic card scheme.