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The Next Phase of Nigeria’s Currency Revamp

When Nigeria announced in October that it would redesign three currency notes as a means to mop physical cash away from private vaults and fight inflation, it sparked a frenzy that caused the naira to weaken sharply against the dollar within days. That initial storm has passed, three weeks later, with the local currency reverting to around N710 to the dollar on the street after soaring as high as N830. Nigerians now seem to have accepted the prospect of the new currency notes and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is doubling down, with measures to ensure that anyone with old notes can meet the deadline to return them. One measure is especially aimed at residents in places with low penetrations of commercial banks and includes the use of agent banking. By Jan. 31 next year, all old 200, 500, and 1000 naira notes will cease to be legal tender.