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NIGERIA: CBN publishes framework for fintech sandboxes, QR payments

The CBN released both guidelines on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, to promote innovation in Nigeria’s financial ecosystem and to provide security for consumers.

Nigeria's Central Bank has released an updated regulatory frameworks for fintech sandbox operations and for companies operating Quick Response (QR) code payments Nigeria.

The Central Bank of Nigeria published both guidelines, on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, stating that both frameworks were released to promote innovation in Nigeria’s financial sector and to provide security for consumers.

The sandbox is a formal process for firms to conduct live tests of new innovative products, services, delivery channels, or business models, with the onus now on the CBN's shoulders to supervise and regulate these operations.

Sandboxes would likely present a safe testing environment and facilities to ease regulatory onboarding process for new entrants into the Nigerian fintech space, while the country's fintech regulations remain in progress.

Regulations for QR Payments

Some financial industry stakeholders believe the increasingly popular QR Payments channel to be a perfect facility for financial inclusion in Nigeria, as QR codes can store tons of data, whilst still allowing the user to access information instantly once scanned.

And the CBN seems to agree with these industry stakeholders, as the newly-released framework for QR Code Payments would suggest.

One such industry stakeholder who is an evangelist of QR Code Payments is Sola Fanawopo, CEO eMaginations Limited and renowned fintech expert, who says QR payment is a cheaper and foolproof way to encourage merchants to assimilate digital payments.

According to the CBN, players in the QR code payments ecosystem will include:

  • Merchants
  • Customers
  • Issuers (Banks, MMOs and Other Financial Institutions)
  • Acquirers (Banks, MMOs and Other Financial Institutions)
  • Payments Service Providers

However, we would have to wait and see how much it would boost financial inclusion in Nigeria.

Nigeria In Focus:

Population: 206.6 million (Compared to South Africa's 59.6 million)

GDP: $504.57 billion (Compared to South Africa's $369.85 billion)

GDP Per Capita: $2,465 (Compared to South Africa's $6,193)