The Partnership May Eventually Build A Digital Hub “Similar To The Dubai Virtual Free Zone”

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange to date, is reportedly working with the Nigeria Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) to create a special economic zone to boost crypto and blockchain-related businesses.

It turns out that the Nigerian government is working to create a digital hub “similar to the Dubai virtual free zone”, but in West Africa. Nigeria has already delved into the crypto world, becoming one of the most crypto-friendly nations in Africa.

According to Adesoji Adesugba, managing director of NEPZA, this would be the first such zone in Africa, with an ultimate goal to provide crypto-friendly laws, regulations, and tax incentives to crypto businesses.

“Our goal is to engender a flourishing virtual free zone to take advantage of a near trillion dollar virtual economy in blockchains and digital economy. We seek to break new grounds to widen economic opportunities for our citizens in line with the mandate of the Authority, the directive of the Honorable Minister, and the economic development agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.” Adesugha noted, adding that Nigeria has one of the highest rates of cryptocurrency adoption worldwide, with over 22 million crypto owners.

Africa adopts cryptos

The widespread financial uncertainty and unstable government policies have pushed crypto adoption to rise over the past couple of years. Nigeria, however, tops the chart in the list of crypto-friendly nations, with Nigerians having searched the terms “cryptocurrency” and “buy crypto” more than any of the other 14 countries surveyed.

In order for the Nigerian government to propose its citizens an adequate access to cryptos, lawmakers pushed out regulations for the trading of digital assets. Also, Nigeria’s official stock exchange plans to go the crypto route by deploying a blockchain-enabled platform next year

Meanwhile, the Nigerian CBDC – the e-Naira, is gaining momentum since its launch in October 2021. As of press time, the adopters of the e-Naira are close to one million, with Nigeria planning to increase the CBDC adoption tenfold over the next year.

“Just like the naira, the e-naira is expected to be available to all Nigerians and will provide more possibilities to bring the unbanked into the digital economy. We don’t have a choice but to live with the fact that we are now in a digital economy. The use of cash will dissipate to zero and the use of digital currency will increase to become part of our lives.” Nigeria’s central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele stressed.

Emefiele also noted that during the second phase of the e-Naira project, the central bank is going to focus on the unbanked and unserviced users. In order to do so, the central bank is incorporating Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), which allows unbanked Nigerians to create e-Naira wallets by dialing a four-digit code on their mobile phones.

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