The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) has launched a National Domestic Card Scheme named AfriGo, to rival foreign cards like Mastercard and Verve and drive financial inclusion in the country.
The announcement was made by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele in a virtual conference last Thursday.
According to him, the Afrigo card will be a more innovative, cost-effective and competitive local option that will address the issue of high-cost international card services due to foreign exchange requirements and cater to local peculiarities of the Nigerian market.
He noted that the operation of the local cards will not prevent the use of the existing international cards, nor will it prohibit international service providers from Nigerians.
On the benefits of the National card, the apex bank Governor said AfriGo provides an opportunity to integrate the economy's informal sector into the financial system.
In an economy of over 200 million people and a heavily under-banked population, the launch of the new card scheme is set to tackle the challenges of "limited financial inclusion” in the country and provide more options for domestic consumers.
With the launch of the AfriGo card, Nigeria now joins countries like China, Russia, Turkey, and India, which have their local cards.