November 9, 2016
This post originally appeared on Nigeria Today.
It is a well-known fact that the Nigerian economy is to a large extent driven by the informal sector with women being the major players in the informal sector.
So when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) launched its national financial inclusion strategy, it cited research from EFina that 36.9 million Nigerians are unbanked, majority of whom are women.
Since the research findings, banks that are genuinely interested in the economic growth of the Nigerian economy have resorted to bringing or rather converting many of the women from the informal sector to the formal sector.
Women, especially in Nigeria, want access to a bank account and a safe place to keep their money, but physical proximity to a branch, lack of trust, financial literacy, affordability and eligibility remain real obstacles.
Financial inclusion is increasingly recognized as a critical part of the global agenda to reduce poverty and boost prosperity.
The World Bank and other partners issued commitments to advance financial inclusion and achieve “Universal Financial Access” by 2020 and hence, access to financial services is a critical enabler in several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Indeed, advancing financial inclusion is a priority for the government of Nigeria where we are seeing meaningful policy change under the 2012 National Financial Inclusion Strategy.
These goals are yielding promising returns as the number of people worldwide with a bank account grew to 700 million between 2011 and 2014 according to the World Bank’s Global Findex report.