EFInA hosted a Financial Inclusion Conference to unveil the results of the Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2014 survey, provide insights from local and international experts about deepening financial inclusion, and celebrate financial inclusion achievements in Nigeria by announcing the winners of the 2014 Financial Inclusion Awards.
The Chief Executive Officer of EFInA, Ms. Modupe Ladipo, shared key findings from the EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2014 survey. The survey revealed that the number of Nigerian adults nationwide who are banked increased from 28.6 million (32.5% of the adult population) in 2012 to 33.9 million (36.3% of the adult population) in 2014. However, 36.9 million adults, representing 39.5% of the adult population, are financially excluded, meaning that they have no access to financial services.
According to Ms. Ladipo, “The good news is that, since EFInA started measuring financial access in 2008, the number of Nigerian adults with access to formal financial services (such as bank accounts, insurance, pensions, mobile money or microfinance bank products) has increased by 25 million. That is larger than the entire population of many African countries. However, given Nigeria’s population growth, the number of financially excluded adults still remains high. To reduce financial exclusion, financial services providers will need to be more effective in reaching those in the most excluded groups, including youth, women, Northern Nigerians, and those living in rural areas.”
The nationally-representative EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2014 survey also showed that mobile money awareness and usage remains low; 11.9 million adults (12.7% of the adult population) are aware of mobile money, and only 800,000 Nigerian adults (0.8% of the adult population) currently use mobile money. Uptake of insurance is also low, with 1 million adults (1.1% of the adult population) using insurance, although 14.3 million adults said that they would be interested in microinsurance products. The survey also found that 2.6 million adults (2.8% of the adult population) currently have a microfinance bank account; however an additional 31.5 million adults said that they would like to have a microfinance bank account.
The Keynote Address at the Conference was given by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele (CON), who recognised the accomplishments that have been made to date in promoting financial inclusion in Nigeria. He underscored the importance of continuously monitoring progress towards achieving the targets of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, saying that “the EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2014 survey will offer new information that can be used to gauge our progress thus far.” Mr. Emefiele also emphasised the need for tenacity in pursuing financial inclusion goals, saying, “Financial inclusion is a long journey, and it is important that we continue to take this seriously. The Central Bank of Nigeria is committed to this journey.”
The Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Arunma Oteh, shared insights about how the capital market can promote financial inclusion in Nigeria, by contributing to economic growth in the country and creating opportunities for each and every Nigerian to build wealth. Ms. Oteh highlighted recent successes by the Nigerian capital market to increase financial inclusion, including an increase in the range and affordability of mutual funds, deployment of non-interest finance products, and initiatives undertaken by the SEC and capital market operators to promote financial literacy. Ms. Oteh stated that, “If we focus on financial inclusion holistically, people will feel like they are part of this society, like they can earn a living.”
The EFInA Financial Inclusion Conference featured a presentation by Mr. Tariq Mohar, Deputy CEO of Tameer Microfinance Bank in Pakistan. Mr. Mohar shared information about how Tameer successfully became the largest microfinance bank in Pakistan, with 1.2 million customers, in less than 10 years, through use of innovative solutions such as the Easypaisa mobile money service and ‘Bank on Wheels,’ a fleet of secure roving vehicles that can handle a range of transactions. Mr. Mohar shared how Tameer Microfinance Bank has worked to develop a financial ecosystem, to ensure that customers at the base of the pyramid can have access to savings, credit, payment mechanisms and insurance.
The Conference also featured a presentation by Mr. David Porteous, CEO of Bankable Frontier Associates, who stated that three key elements are essential for sustainable long term financial inclusion – customer value proposition, viable business case for financial services providers, and a healthy ecosystem. Ms. Anjali Banthia, Specialist in Product Marketing, Research & Financial Education for Women’s World Banking, shared practical advice and examples about developing financial services for women.
The Conference concluded with EFInA presenting Financial Inclusion Awards to organisations that have made significant contributions toward deepening financial inclusion in Nigeria. Award winners in each category were:
- Financial services provider that has deepened financial inclusion – Microfinance Bank: ACCION Microfinance Bank
- Financial services provider that has deepened financial inclusion – Deposit Money Bank: GT Bank
- Best mobile money operator: Pridar Systems Limited (Firstmonie)
- Regulator that has championed financial inclusion: Central Bank of Nigeria
- Best research firm: Nielsen Nigeria