Nigerian women with bank accounts hit 10-year high –
The percentage of Nigerian women with formal financial accounts at any financial institution rose nine percentage points to 35% in 2021, the highest in 10 years, according to a recent World Bank Global Findex report.
According to the report, technology is helping to foster inclusive access to finance in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), especially for women.
“The spread of mobile money accounts has created new opportunities to better serve women, the poor and other groups traditionally excluded from the formal financial system. Indeed, there are early signs that mobile money accounts could help close the gender gap,” the report says.
Despite the improvement, Africa’s largest economy still has a long way to go as the percentage of women with bank accounts ranks among SSA countries with the lowest percentage of bank accounts.
For example, South Sudan ranked last with 4.2%, followed by Guinea with 24%, Sierra Leone (24.8%), Burkina Faso (30.7%) and Nigeria ( 35%).
The top five SSA countries are Mauritius (89.4%), South Africa (86.2%), Kenya (75.4%), Uganda (69.3%) and Namibia ( 65.1%).
Moreover, compared to men, Nigerian women still lag behind, with 35% having bank accounts, 21 percentage points less than the 56% of men who do.
Across SSA, unbanked women are seven percent more likely than unbanked men to cite the lack of a mobile phone as one of the reasons they don’t have an account, says the report.
“This gap widens to 14 percentage points in Nigeria, where women are almost twice as likely as men to cite the lack of a mobile phone as a barrier to having an account. Ghana reported a double-digit gap (10 percentage points) between women and men citing mobile phone ownership as a barrier.
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“Another obstacle is the lack of identification. In Liberia, Mozambique, South Sudan and Tanzania, more than 40% of unbanked adults cited lack of documentation as a barrier. Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal and South Sudan all have significant gender gaps corresponding to this barrier,” he concluded.
Similarly, David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, noted in a recent blog that the gender gap in access to finance has narrowed, but still exists.
“Women, as well as the poor, are more likely to lack ID or mobile phones, live far from a bank branch, and need help opening and effectively using a financial account. .
“Policymakers will need to make extra efforts to include underserved population groups in the ongoing transformation.
Malpass recommended that financial education programs are among the tools to be considered, and that they are bound to be more effective if they involve peer-to-peer learning, for example through women’s self-help groups.
Separated from world Bank report, a recent survey by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisor Gender Center of Excellence showed that ninety-eight percent of women still do not have access to formal credit markets.
Bunmi Lawson, Managing Director of EdFin Microfinance Bank, highlighted the urgent need to foster financial and economic inclusion in Nigeria, especially among women.
“Beyond financial inclusion, we must also prioritize economic inclusion, as one cannot exist without the other. Efforts must be made to address key drivers of financial exclusion, such as lack of income and economic capabilities, lack of education, and low trust in financial service providers,” Lawson said.
She noted that efforts to drive financial inclusion by policymakers and financial service providers must go beyond product innovation to address these underlying drivers of financial gaps and between gender through more systemic collaborations among all stakeholders.
On the challenges faced by financially excluded women in Nigeria, Funke Fausat Olanrewaju, a trader for over 20 years, said that financial service providers need to get to the level of excluded women and speak their language (in terms of level of knowledge). literacy), gaining their trust and recruiting them.
“There are so many things that can be done with financially excluded women. However, I believe the starting point is to meet them where they are, consistently engage them in the way they prefer and understand, and reduce the barriers they face, including opening an account. or even access to loans.