The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and EFInA have advocated the need to promote financial and gender inclusion in rural and unbanked communities.
This, they said, is part of efforts to bridge the gap of financial services and economic inclusion to support the key outcomes of the Gross Domestic Produc t(GDP) growth.
Stating that financial inclusion would facilitate the emergence of an all-inclusive growth as well as promoting the financial system, EFInA stressed that inclusion will close the gap of economic exclusion of women in northern region and rural areas.
EFInA, who made this known at the Webinar session and Launch of EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2020 survey recently, added that, 86 per cent of Nigerians face financial and economic shocks related to price increase while the dominant shock experience faced by Nigerians is the economic shock.
EFInA 2020 Survey noted that 51 per cent of Nigerian adults are using formal financial services such as bank, microfinance bank, mobile money, insurance and pension account, adding that, this has largely been driven by growth in banking with 45 per cent of Nigerians banked in 2020, up from 40 per cent in 2018.
The survey revealed that the financial inclusion target was 80 per cent by 2020; even as EFInA data also showed that only 64 per cent of Nigerian adults were financially included by the end of 2020, saying, 36 per cent of Nigerian adults, or 38 million adults, were completely excluded.
Hence, the large gaps in financial access remain for some of Nigeria’s most financially excluded groups while women continue to be more financially excluded than men, with only 45 per cent of women using formal financial services, compared to 56 per cent of men.
This is also as the CBN noted that several efforts have been at the forefront to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria by championing the development and implementation of Nigeria’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy led by the CBN governor.
Speaking at the webinar session, deputy governor, Financial Systems Stability (FSS). Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Aishah Ahmad, posited that “financial inclusion is a strong lever for bridging income inequality, combating poverty and preserving social harmony.
She stressed that despite the progress achieved to date, critical groups; including women, rural dwellers and citizens in the northern area remained excluded.
While stressing that the CBN launched a framework for advancing women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria in 2020 to address the issues of financial Inclusion, she added that the apex bank is leading the industry to implement the framework which it expects to lead to significant increase in women’s financial inclusion in the country.
Similarly, chief executive officer of EFInA, Ashley Immanuel said: “At our current rate of progress, we will not reach the 2020 financial exclusion target until around 2030. However, we can reach these targets much faster if we follow paths taken by other African countries that have seen rapid financial inclusion growth due to mobile money.”
She noted that the survey her firm had, shows that the use of digital financial services and agents networks started to grow significantly between 2018 and 2020 with phone ownership increasing by 81 per cent.