Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority authorities and global cryptocurrencies platform Binance are in talks to establish a digital economic zone that will help entrepreneurs fast track blockchain technology in the West African nation.
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The partnership aims to build a digital hub, “similar to the Dubai virtual free zone,” according to statement by the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority.
According to a Sept. 2 post from the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), the authority has held preliminary talks with Binance and technology infrastructure company Talent City to discuss the proposed digital city, referred to as a “Virtual Free Zone.”
NEPZA managing director Adesoji Adesugba said the proposed zone will be a first in West Africa and act similar to Dubai’s virtual zones, which are designed to provide crypto-friendly laws, regulations, and tax incentives for crypto businesses.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is targeting digital technology as a means to help diversify the economy away from crude oil, taking advantage of an increasingly connected and youthful population. Fintech startups such as Interswitch Ltd. and Flutterwave Inc. has emerged in the space and achieved billion-dollar plus valuations.
The government this year enacted regulations for trade in digital assets while Nigeria Exchange Ltd. plans to start a blockchain-enabled platform next year to deepen trade at the bourse.