In Nigeria, the currency shortage caused by a recent changeover to redesigned banknotes has plunged Africa’s largest economy into crisis just ahead of a presidential election.
Customers are waiting all day at banks and ATMs to withdraw only enough money to last for one day, while businesses unable to carry out transactions have been forced to close.
People are illegally selling new currency notes at higher rates, while the shortage of cash is likely to affect the presidential election, making a greater number of voters vulnerable to vote-buying and ratcheting up election tensions even further.
Facing increasing pressure to find a solution, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to deploy all legitimate resources and legal means to ensure people enjoy easy access to cash withdrawal.
The shortage of currency has made life even more difficult in Nigeria, where 63% of the population are poor, 33% are unemployed, and as of 2021, only 45% of adults had a bank account, according to the World Bank.