Can mobile banking boost financial inclusion in Nigeria?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with around 167 million people, mobile banking has been relatively slow to take off. This is, however, changing. Last year the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued the first operating licences to 11 companies to provide mobile banking services.

Nigeria’s telecommunications sector has been one of the country’s star performers over the past decade. According to Standard Bank, Nigeria is already the world’s tenth-largest mobile market. South African mobile operator MTN closely studied the Nigerian market for three years before it entered the country in 2001. Today MTN Nigeria has over 40 million subscribers, its biggest market out of the 21 countries where it operates. Many other brands such as Glo, Airtel and Etisalat have also launched operations in Nigeria.

Mobile banking – the key to financial inclusion?

Mobile banking has the potential to have a significant impact on financial inclusion in Nigeria. A 2010 study by Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), a financial sector development organisation that promotes financial inclusion in Nigeria, found that only 25.4 million adults, or 30%, have a bank account. Yet there are over 90 million mobile subscribers, highlighting the opportunities.

Source: How We Made It in Africa (link opens in a new window)

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