West Africa Gets Serious with New Banking Technologies

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Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa has announced plans to officially adopt an open banking standard powered by new technologies such as distributed ledger technology (DLT), to promote transparency in the financial services sector, according to a report by local news source the Guardian on July 1, 2019. 

Nigeria Set to Adopt Open Banking System

Per sources close to the matter, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is putting preparations in top gear to implement the open banking system in the nation, a move that could make the so-called giant of Africa the first nation in the continent to join the open banking bandwagon.

For the uninitiated, the open banking system makes use of open source financial technologies and open application programming interfaces (APIs) to allow third-party developers build solutions around the financial institution which provides account holders with greater transparency options, while also enabling them to manage several accounts from a centralized location.

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Reportedly, the apex bank has already made a public request for information concerning the proposed open banking system in its Payment Systems Vision (PSV) 2030 agenda.

If all goes as planned, the financial watchdog is expected to formulate regulations that would promote the adoption of the open banking system across the banking industry.

Importantly, Open Banking Nigeria, the Adedeji Olowe-led nonprofit that is championing the open banking initiative, has already drafted the alpha version of the open banking API standard and the team is reportedly looking to develop a sandbox by Q3 2019.

At a time when nation-states across the globe are beginning to warm up to blockchain technology, Nigeria has hinted at integrating DLT, and other new technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and robotics process automation into its financial sector in the near future.

The ECOWAS Member States Adopt One Currency 

After thirty years of serious deliberations, the 15 nations that make up the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have reached an agreement to adopt a single currency known as the Eco.

The MOU which was signed during a meeting of the 15 member states in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja on June 29, 2019, will enable the participating nations to integrate the currency into their economy by 2020.

Though more details about the Eco is yet to emerge, the single currency is seen as a strong political symbol by some though analysts believe the initiative is a huge gamble.

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