Viewpoint: Achieving Nigeria’s financial inclusion
By Yewande Enobakhare-Adewusi
Nigeria’s growing population is estimated to be 186 million people. Nearly 87 million Nigerians are living in extreme poverty, according and Nigerians are living to the World Poverty Clock. And even more concerning is that the same monitoring tool indicates that the country’s poverty level is on a continuous and rapid rise, with about six people falling into poverty every minute. A lack of access to basic amenities such as food and water, an increased spread of diseases and mortality rates, against the country’s high corruption levels, poor educational system, and underutilization of resources are just a few of the factors which cause, make up, and enhance this dire situation. Despite the country’s economic growth, in February this year, it was reported by the AfDB that over 150 million Nigerians (81% of the population) live on less than $2 a day – a 20% increase in people since 2014.
Access to financial services such as banking, lending services, micro-financing, and economic resources, i.e., financial inclusion have long been heralded as a way to reduce poverty. Increased banking deposits provide available credit for all people across countries, and enable increased consumption and investment, which help to drive economic growth, and in turn, job creation. Ghana, Uganda and India have established and adopted financial inclusion strategies as a means to reducing poverty, and now find themselves seeing significant results.
Photo courtesy of Leander Wattig.