Lagos, December 9, 2019: Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) hosted the 2019 Financial Inclusion Conference with the theme “Unlocking the Potential in Every Nigerian: The Path to Inclusive Economic Growth”. The event examined the transformative power of financial inclusion and its potential to accelerate inclusive economic growth through poverty reduction, employment generation, and wealth creation.
The Assessment of Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria, new in-depth research conducted by EFInA in partnership with Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) Financial Inclusion Secretariat, was launched at the conference by the CBN’s Deputy Governor for Financial Systems Stability, Aishah Ahmad. Ahmad remarked that the path to inclusive economic growth is paved with women’s economic empowerment and visionary ideas are necessary to close the financial inclusion gender gap.
Other guest facilitators and panelists at the forum were the Head of the Financial Inclusion Secretariat, CBN, Mr. Joseph Attah; British Deputy High Commissioner, Harriet Thompson; Chief Operating Officer of Nigerian Economics Summit Group, Dr.Tayo Aduloju; Group Chief Executive of FCMB, Ladi Balogun; Managing Director of Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman; Global Partner Mckinsey & Company, Eyitope Kola-Oyeneyin; Bunmi Lawson, Managing Director of EdFin Microfinance Bank; CEO of ThistlePraxis Consulting, Ini Abimbola; and Senior Relationship Manager at Women’s World Banking Zino Afiegbe. Discussions focused on topical subjects such as:
- The role of financial inclusion in achieving sustainable development goals in Northern Nigeria – A focus on agriculture finance
- The promise of digital financial inclusion
- Bringing the gender gap; empowering women, building economics
Segun Akerele, EFInA Board Chair said that economic inclusion is a function of financial inclusion, and key issues such as security, fraud, and regulatory barriers should be addressed. This can be achieved by creating solutions with an ecosystem approach, thus making the financial inclusion landscape more enabling to foster the much-needed collaboration for all stakeholders to succeed.
Nigerian Economics Summit Chief Operating Officer, Aduloju indicated that to deliver transformational results in Northern Nigeria, the approach to agricultural finance must be based on an understanding of financial inclusion imperatives and northern agriculture value chain opportunities.
Although there has been an overall improvement in financial inclusion in Nigeria, the gender gap in access to financial services has increased slightly over the past decade. During the presentation of key findings from the Assessment of Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria research, Ashley Immanuel, Head of Programmes at EFInA highlighted the ways in which gender inequality in Nigeria contributes to differences in financial access for men and women. She mentioned that it was important for all stakeholders to work together to address the financial inclusion gender gap, earn women’s trust in financial services and explore ways to build a better business case for reaching excluded women.
Other key takeaways are the need for all financial service providers to deepen financial literacy efforts and for Nigerian regulatory bodies to keep up with technology developments amongst all players – the Banks, PSBs, Telcos, MMOs, Fintech & all other stakeholders whilst encouraging them to adopt a collaborative approach to develop targeted product offerings that will contributed to inclusive economic growth in Nigeria.
For more information, the full report on Assessment of Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria research is available Assessment of Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria