EFInA hosted its inaugural Women’s Financial Inclusion Forum to share ideas and discuss practical strategies to enhance financial inclusion for women in Nigeria.
The EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2012 survey revealed that 21.6 million men (47.4% of adult men), compared with 16.2 million women (38.3% of adult women), had access to formal financial services. In addition, the South West had the highest percentage of formally included women at 53.5% and the North West had the highest percentage of financially excluded women at 71.3%.
The Women’s Financial Inclusion Forum brought together local and international stakeholders from the public, private and non-profit sectors to highlight approaches for bridging the gender inclusion gap by improving access to and usage of formal financial products for Nigerian women.
EFInA Board member Mrs. Anino Emuwa opened the forum by explaining that EFInA has specifically identified women as a focus area in its Strategy, as women remain a relatively underserved group. She encouraged participants at the forum to develop innovative solutions that would enhance women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Chief Executive Officer of EFInA, Ms. Modupe Ladipo, shared in-depth analysis on the landscape of women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria. Ms. Ladipo provided insights about the key differences between the demographic profile of men and women, as well as between formally served, informally served and financially excluded women.
International guest speaker, Ms. Jennifer McDonald, Savings Manager, Women’s World Banking (WWB), presented global best practices for women’s financial inclusion. She shared WWB’s experience in developing products that enhance women’s financial inclusion. Ms. McDonald discussed WWB’s work with Diamond Bank on the BETA Savings product, which is targeted at unbanked and under-banked Nigerians, especially women. In 2011, EFInA awarded Diamond Bank a Technical Assistance Grant to develop and pilot the BETA Savings product.
The panellists at the forum included Mr. Anant Nautiyal, Mobile Programme Director, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women; Ms. Ngozi Eze, Nigeria Country Director, Women for Women International; and Mr. Jude Anele, Head, Retail Banking, Diamond Bank. They provided practical examples for deepening women’s financial inclusion.
During breakout sessions, participants at the forum developed actionable strategies for ensuring women’s uptake and usage of formal financial products through effective product design, emphasis on financial capability and adoption of mobile technology.
In closing, the Chairman of EFInA’s Board, Mr. Yemi Cardoso, stated that “Women are far more excluded than men in Nigeria. We must ask ourselves what measures we can take to address that imbalance. One potential solution could be the provision of unsecured lending by financial institutions.”