Nigeria Picks Bola Tinubu as President Amid Cash Shortages

Tinubu will replace Muhammadu Buhari, whose government issued the eNaira and banned banks from interacting with crypto firms.

AccessTimeIconMar 1, 2023 at 11:13 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 1, 2023 at 3:54 p.m. UTC
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Bola Tinubu has won Nigeria’s disputed presidential election as the country continues to battle crippling cash shortages and high inflation left by outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari’s term was plagued with nationwide riots to protest police brutality, rising inflation and in recent months, protests over cash shortages resulting from the complications of a plan to swap old banknotes for new ones. Buhari couldn't run again because of a two-term limit.

Opposition parties in the country have disputed Saturday's vote, which made Tinubu, who's from the same political party as Buhari, the leader of the West African nation.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, under Buhari’s administration, issued a digital naira in October 2021 to encourage electronic payments and rival private cryptocurrencies. Nigeria’s tech-savvy, young population made the nation one of the fastest crypto adopters in the world, despite attempts by the government to put a damper on use.

Uptake in the eNaira use has been slow, however, and even with the cash shortages, people haven't been turning to the digital currency, partly because so few merchants accept it as payment. Still, as the value of the naira continues to fall, demand for the U.S. dollar may have risen, as indicated by the black market exchange rates for the currency in Nigeria.

Under the Buhari administration, the central bank also prohibited local banks from offering services to crypto companies.

It’s unclear what the newcomer’s position on crypto is, but he plans to boost the country’s private sector to uplift an economy struggling with 21.8% inflation and fuel and cash shortages.


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Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.

Camomile Shumba

Camomile Shumba is a CoinDesk regulatory reporter based in the UK. She previously worked as an intern for Business Insider and Bloomberg News. She does not currently hold value in any digital currencies or projects.

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