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Nigeria seeks partnerships to create the first West African Virtual Free Zone

Monday, 05 September 2022 13:30
Nigeria seeks partnerships to create the first West African Virtual Free Zone

(Ecofin Agency) - With the ongoing digital transformation efforts, Nigeria is trying to wean itself off its oil dependence by capitalizing on the digital sector. With the virtual free zone, the country wants to widen economic opportunities for its population. 

Nigeria has initiated discussions with cryptocurrency platform Binance Holdings Ltd to establish a virtual free zone, informs a release published, Saturday (September 3), by the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA).

According to the release accessed by Ecofin Agency, discussions are underway on a three-way partnership between NEPZA, Binance Holdings, and the technology hub Talent City, to establish what could be the first virtual free zone in West Africa. The economic zone, similar to the Dubai Virtual Free Zone, is expected to enable Nigeria to capitalize on the opportunities offered by the digital economy.  

We seek to break new grounds to widen economic opportunities for our citizens in line with the mandate of the NEPZA, […] and the economic development agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari. 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,” indicated Prof Adesoji Adesugba (photo), Managing Director of the NEPZA. 

In recent years, digital tools have emerged as key variables to consider in the implementation of Nigeria’s development agenda. As Africa's most populous country, it has a large cryptocurrency-holding population, amidst the depreciation of its official currency.  

After restricting the use of cryptocurrencies in the country, in February 2021, authorities finally launched the e-Naira, the first national digital currency in Africa. For President Muhammadu Buhari, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital sector and blockchain should allow Nigeria to increase its GDP by US$29 billion in the next 10 years.

Moutiou Adjibi Nourou

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