The Central Bank of Nigeria says it is launching the second phase of the eNaira project – designed to increase financial inclusion for the unbanked and the underserved through offline channels, according to governor Godwin Emefiele.

The first phase of the eNaira project was launched in October 2021, and since then it has reached 840,000 downloads with 270,000 active wallets, leading to remarkable volume and value of transactions, claims the apex bank.

The second phase will allow merchants and consumers with bank accounts to use the NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP) to transfer and receive eNaira to any bank account, which will deepen the integration of the eNaira with the national payment infrastructure.

Emefiele made the announcement while delivering a keynote address at the Grand Finale of the eNaira Hackathon. The hackathon, which was organized in collaboration with Africa Fintech Foundry, recorded a large interest from young Nigerians, with a total of 4,667 registrations, comprising 4,082 male and 582 female applicants. Emefiele commended the participants for their innovative ideas and contributions towards the growth of the financial ecosystem.

The eNaira project is aimed at increasing the level of financial inclusion in Nigeria. The eNaira wallet can be opened by dialing *997 from a mobile phone, and it is expected to be accessible to all Nigerians.

The project has recorded remarkable success so far, with a volume and value of transactions reaching over 200,000 and NGN 4.4 billion. The second phase of the project has a target of eight million users based on an estimation using the diffusion of innovation model.