38 Million Nigerian Adults Financially Excluded

 38 Million Nigerian Adults Financially Excluded

A survey has reported that 36 percent of Nigerian adults, or 38 million adults, remained completely financially excluded at the end of 2020.

According to a new report by Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access, titled ‘New data from EFInA’, said financial inclusion grew, adding that there was a need for more action.

Part of the report stated, “Although financial inclusion has grown in the past decade, Nigeria fell short of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy targets for 2020.

“The country had aimed to reach 70 percent of Nigerians with formal financial services by 2020; the actual figure was 51 per cent.

“The strategy also sets targets for overall financial inclusion, which counts Nigerians that use either formal financial services or informal financial services that are not nationally regulated, such as savings groups.

“The overall financial inclusion target was 80 percent by 2020; EFInA data shows that only 64 percent of Nigerian adults were financially included by the end of 2020. This means that 36 per cent of Nigerian adults, or 38 million adults, remain completely financially excluded.”

The report stated that the National Financial Inclusion Strategy targets were not met as more Nigerian adults were financially included.

It added that growth in digital financial services and agent banking highlighted opportunities to drive faster progress toward financial inclusion, particularly for excluded groups such as women, rural and Northern Nigerians.

The Chief Executive Officer, EFInA, Ashley Immanuel, said, “At our current rate of progress, we will not reach the 2020 financial inclusion targets 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.

“EFInA’s Access to Financial Services in Nigeria surveys show that use of digital financial services and agent networks started to grow significantly between 2018 and 2020.

“Phone ownership has also increased, with 81 percent of Nigerians now owning mobile phones.

“Now is the time to build on this initial progress and drive faster financial inclusion growth through digital financial services such as mobile money.

Kehinde Ogunyale

Freelance Investigative and Data Journalist

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