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Insight & Analysis - June 4, 2021

Inside Nigeria’s Failed Attempt to Increase Financial Inclusion

A recent report by UK-backed development organisation, EFInA, shows that Nigeria is a long way from reaching its goal of financial inclusion with almost 36% of the adults in the country yet to be financially documented. The figure was little altered from two years ago, and it was far higher than the government’s objective of reducing the percentage of citizens without access to financial services to 20%, which it set in 2013.

As part of attempts to modernise its economy, boost tax collection, and reduce the number of informal work exploitation, the West African country has attempted to draw more individuals into the formal financial sector. As part of its efforts to extend access, it has licenced banks, cellular carriers, and technology companies to offer services, particularly to the two-thirds of the population who reside outside of cities.

“Growth in digital financial services, agent networks and mobile phone ownership now at 81% highlights the opportunity to drive faster financial inclusion. At the current rate of progress, the national financial inclusion strategy targets for 2020 will not be met until around 2030.” The EFIna report stated. 

Efforts to extend bank access have been hampered by job losses linked to the epidemic and social distancing measures, states EFInA. The report also shows that persons are more excluded than older adults, with 47% of those aged 18 to 25 missing access to financial services. Financially disadvantaged people are mostly dependents who live in rural areas and have a poor level of education.



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