As part of efforts to promote financial inclusion in Nigeria, the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) a financial development organisation funded by the DFID and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently organised a forum in Lagos.
Through its innovation fund, EFInA targets the economically deprived population.
Launched in 2009, the fund shares risks with Financial Service Providers (FSPs) by providing grant subsidies through its Technical Assistance Grant and the Innovation Grant to the tune of $250,000 and $2,000,000 respectively.
The focus areas include agent networks, electronic payment, financial inclusive products and services especially across northern Nigeria, women and financial literacy projects.
EFInA’s Board Chair, Mr. Segun Akerele said in a statement, that the “essence of the forum was to request information from FinTechs on how EFInA would can stimulate innovation targeted at the financially excluded through its grants, advocacy, research and capacity building.”
Akerele also appealed to the forum to see the financially excluded as partners and an asset in our bid to boost economic growth and increase GDP.
Presenting a paper titled: “Potential For Driving Financial Inclusion Uptake through FinTechs,” EFInA’s Programme Specialists – Payments, Folasade Agbejule, said: “According to the EFInA Access to financials survey of 2016 which covers about 23,000 respondents across Nigeria, 41.6 per cent of adults are financially excluded even though they have access to mobile phones.
“Also, these adults do not have access to formal and informal financial services. The digital financial service system has a role to play in this situation to reach low income earners and people in the rural areas.”
Also, an Associate Principal at Mckinsey and Company, Topsy Kola Oyeneyin, during her presentation stated that “there is huge potential for digital involvement in Nigeria’s financial services but this can only be attained if the three required building blocks are put in place.
“These building blocks are widespread digital infrastructure, dynamic financial services market and the development of products people prefer to existing alternatives.”
The event involved a panel session where panelists including Segun Akerele, Tunde Kehinde; Co-Founder Lidya, Ngozi Dozie; Co-founder Paylater/OneFi, Jude Njugo; Beyond Credit CEO and NonnyMerenu; Unilever Sustainability Manager discussed issues relating to: the current state of financial inclusion in Nigeria, the FinTech landscape, the role of the Central Bank of Nigeria in driving financial inclusion in Nigeria as well as the barriers and challenges of the low income population to access financial services.