Nigerians in Côte d’Ivoire for AFCON 2023 suffer crunch of depreciated naira

COTE’D’IVOIRE- The depreciated naira has become an albatross for Nigerians who travelled to Côte d’Ivoire for AFCON 2023 as they experience the blues of a cash crunch.

Nigerians who travelled to Côte d’Ivoire suffer from the effects of naira depreciation as they only receive 500 CFA francs per N1,000 at the parallel market.

Food with a glass bottle of Coca-Cola costs 800 CFA francs (N1,600), and two sachets of water (pure water) cost 100 CFA francs (N200).

Peoples Gazette’s correspondent for the AFCON spoke to some Nigerians who travelled to Ivory Coast about how the recent depreciation of naira has affected them financially in Côte d’Ivoire.

Sunday, Ojo said he was unprepared for a situation like this as he has to pay more than double for any transactions he makes in the country compared to some years ago when one would receive more when they changed naira to CFA franc.

“I did not expect my survival here to be this difficult because I based the calculation of expenses for the period of the tournament on the naira,” Mr Ojo told The Gazette. “But when I got here, I realised my budget could only last for two weeks after changing all my money to CFA franc,” he said.

He explained that due to the poor performance of the naira, “I have to pay N3,000, N4,000, even up to N5,000 for a journey of less than an hour using the cheapest means, which is by taxi.” 

Mr Ojo added, “This is the reality for anything you are paying for here (Côte d’Ivoire). My hope is that the Super League will host the tournament so that the effort would not be a waste.”

Hassan Abdulsalam, a sports journalist in Côte d’Ivoire for the Nations Cup, stated that the “weaker naira has made the trip more expensive.”

“The weaker naira made the trip more expensive. Buying things here in Abidjan is very expensive aside from the weaker naira. The cost of living is expensive here,” Mr Abdulsalam said. “This affected the costs of things like accommodation, food, transportation, and sightseeing.” 

Another sports journalist, Chris Emenyonu, who embarked on the adventurous journey to Abidjan by first heading to Ghana for a short stopover before completing the trip to the host nation by flight, said he “could not believe his eyes” when he arrived.

“Naira is divided into two here? I could not believe my eyes. It is really going to be expensive out here,” Mr Emenyonu said. “Everything we are to do here, transportation, feeding, accommodation, is multiplied by two. That’s double our budget.”

He added, “Incredible stuff!” 

The lower parity of the naira to the CFA franc is expected to limit the number of Nigerians in Abidjan to support the Super Eagles during their Nations Cup games. 

During Nigeria’s AFCON opener against Equatorial Guinea on Sunday, only 8,500 fans, mostly Nigerians, were at the Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium.

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