Trans-Border Traders Reject Naira Amid Depreciation Woes


The West African market region is witnessing a significant shift in currency preferences among trans-border traders, as the depreciation of the Nigerian currency, the Naira, continues to cause setbacks.

Recent findings along the Seme border reveal a growing trend of traders favoring alternative currencies such as the CFA or the domestic currency of non-francophone countries over the Naira.

Traditionally, the Naira held dominance in the sub-region, serving as the primary medium of exchange due to extensive trade ties with Nigeria.

However, recent months have seen a decline in its acceptance, culminating in outright rejection by traders as of March 2024.

According to reports by Vanguard, the depreciation of the Naira has been a cause for concern among traders, with its value steadily declining since last year.

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Official data illustrates a concerning trend, with the Naira trading at higher rates against the CFA in previous quarters before plummeting to new lows in recent weeks.

The adverse effects of this depreciation are already being felt across the region, impacting the cost of imported goods into Nigeria and resulting in a slowdown of business activities along border towns shared with Benin Republic.

Money changers and transport operators alike are shying away from accepting Naira, citing concerns over further depreciation and the associated financial losses.

The preference for more stable currencies like the CFA reflects a broader sentiment among traders seeking to mitigate risks in an uncertain economic climate.

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Commenting on the situation, Ibrahim Yakubu, a bike rider operating along the Seme border, emphasized the waning strength of the Naira compared to previous years, noting its diminishing acceptance for goods and services.

Taiye Ekiti, a money changer, attributed the depreciation of the Naira to fluctuations in the United States Dollar, underscoring the interconnected nature of global currency markets and its impact on local economies.

Meanwhile, Nigerian traders like Mr. Achi Collins lament the loss of value in the Naira over time, highlighting the practical challenges faced in conducting business transactions across borders.

The rejection of the Naira signifies a significant shift in the regional economic landscape, with implications for cross-border trade and financial stability.

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As traders adapt to these changes, the need for policy interventions to stabilize the currency and restore confidence in Nigeria’s economic prospects becomes increasingly apparent.

The evolution of currency dynamics in the West African region underscores the interconnectedness of local economies and the challenges posed by external factors such as currency depreciation.

Amidst these challenges, stakeholders must work collaboratively to mitigate risks and foster sustainable economic growth across the region.