The Nigerian government is in talks with Binance aimed at establishing a digital economic zone that will help entrepreneurs fast-track blockchain technology in the West African nation, Bloomberg reports.
The partnership aims to build a digital hub that is similar to the Dubai virtual free, the report disclosed. Free trade zones attract zero percent tax rates, preferential customs duty rates and 100% import and export tax exemption that helps improve international businesses.
According to Adesoji Adesugba, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA)'s managing director, "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 honourable minister 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," Adesugba said. Per local media reports, ex-Flutterwave and Andela co-founder, Iyin Aboyeji's latest initiative, Talent City is also involved in the partnership.
This will not be the first time the Nigerian government is leveraging blockchain technology, the Central Bank of Nigeria's (CBN) digital currency, eNaira is powered by Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain.
Although there is no mention of the use of cryptocurrency in the proposed digital hub since CBN banned the use of cryptocurrencies, on Monday (August 5, 2022) Bashir Ahmad, the Special Assistant on Digital Communications to Nigeria's President in a teaser-like manner tweeted "a crypto-friendly economic zone in Nigeria", although he did not provide additional context, it is obvious that its relates to the ongoing conversations between the government and Binance.
Despite the ban on cryptocurrencies by the Nigerian authorities, a study recently revealed that Nigeria is the most cryptocurrency-obsessed country in the world, the country is also the largest crypto market on the African Continent and ranks third behind only the US and Russia on the global stage. The country generated more than $400million in transaction volume for the 2020 fiscal year, according to Statista.
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In July 2022, Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance tweeted that he recently held meetings with the presidents of Senegal and Cote d'Ivoire, however, CZ did not visit Nigeria. According to reports, the meetings are part of his initiative which is aimed at driving up the adoption of cryptocurrency in Africa and beyond.
Editor's Note: This is a developing story, more details will be provided subsequently.