- 40.9 % of Nigerian women have no access to financial services
- Financial access is skewed towards male adults
- Adult men are more likely to be banked than adult women
- Adult women tend to use more formal-other and informal financial services than adult men
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed that a total of 36.6 million Nigerians, which accounts for 36.8 per cent of the total 99.6 million Nigerian men and women, are financially excluded, out of which over 20 million of this population are women. The apex bank revealed in its recent publication on framework for advancing women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria and accessed by Business A.M.
The CBN, in the publication, revealed that only 39.5 million adult Nigerians (22.9 million men and 16.6 million women) are banked, a pointer to the need to create more financial access for the Nigerian adult women who tend to use more formal-other and informal financial services than adult men, who are more likely to be banked than adult women, the framework stated.
A further analysis of the statistics from the CBN shows that 70 per cent and 62 per cent of the population of women in the North West and North East are most likely to be financially excluded while the highest relative gender gap is in the South West with a proportion of 62.9 per cent when compared with men in the region.
Meanwhile, the report also showed that 31 per cent of women are more likely than men (29 per cent) to use informal financial services as the most commonly used informal financial service providers are savings/thrift collectors which account for 13 per cent of its usage by women.
According to the CBN framework, “there is widespread evidence of the economic and societal benefits of women’s financial inclusion, citing that it can create greater economic stability and prosperity for women, their families, and their communities, by building assets, enabling the ability to respond to family needs, and mitigating risk.
“Women’s financial inclusion is not only a powerful force in the economy and in society: it is a particularly powerful force. While both men and women benefit from financial inclusion, there is evidence that economic inequality falls more when women have greater access to finance than when men have greater access.”
Also in the framework, the CBN outlined eight strategic imperatives for advancing women’s financial inclusion strategy in Nigeria to include:
- To implement a set of measures which are aimed to support account opening by women on a large scale and in short term;
- The expansion of financial and digital literacy (capabilities and skills) programs for low-income women in the context of specific financial behaviours and products;
- Also, there should be an expansion of financial services delivery channel to serve women customers closer to their homes;
- Mandate the development of systems of gender-disaggregated data collection to meet the needs of the financial services provider’s (FSPs), government and regulatory or supervisory authorities;
- Complete and consolidate the enabling environment required to advance the government’s financial inclusion agenda, integrating a gender lens;
- The development of financially sustainable products and delivery systems that respond to the needs of low-income women;
- To promote, at the industry level, the expansion of digital financial services (DFS) and FinTech solutions aimed at improving women’s financial inclusion; and
- To build a culture of women’s leadership and staffing in financial institutions and other key agencies.