• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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CBN to move gender financial inclusion gap from 8.5% to zero in 2024

financial-inclusion

Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN) is planning to move financial inclusion gender gap from 8.5 percent (based on 2018 data) to no gender gap in 2024.

The Bank disclosed this in the Framework for Advancing Women’s Financial Inclusion In Nigeria released on Monday.

According to the framework, this is to be achieved in a two-step process. The first milestone on this path is the reduction of the gender gap by one half by end 2021; this is the target set by members of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (including Nigeria) under the Denarau ActionPlan5 . The second milestone is to eliminate the gender gap by end 2024.

The 2018 EFInA access to finance survey in Nigeria shows that the national financial inclusion rate was 58.9 percent of women compared with 67.4 percent of men, or a gender gap of 8.5 percent.

Given the persistency of the gender gap in financial inclusion, members of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), including Nigeria, committed in 2017 to the Denarau Action Plan to increase women’s access to quality and affordable financial services globally — bridging the financial inclusion gender gap. The Denarau Action Plan targets to accelerate the progress of women’s financial inclusion by halving the financial inclusion gender gap across AFI member jurisdictions by 2021. The Plan outlines ten steps to support the commitment of AFI members to close the gender gap in financial inclusion.

The closure of the gender gap is important not only because it is part of the achievement of Nigeria’s overall financial inclusion target, but also because of the potent value proposition of women’s financial inclusion in the context of Nigeria’s economic and social development, the framework stated.

The Framework identifies the key barriers to attaining this goal, frames the strategic imperatives and recommendations required to overcome these barriers, and sets the stage for the formulation of a set of actions that are implementable, feasible, and trackable. This blueprint will have a separate implementation plan that includes the specific roles and responsibilities of all relevant stakeholders in improving access to finance by women in the country.

The goal of attaining the financial inclusion of Nigerian adult women and men at equal levels by end 2024 is ambitious. The CBN has provided indications of what would be required to achieve the ambitious overall financial inclusion target.

These include product development, financial education and consumer protection, the leveraging of digital platforms, and the proliferation of agent networks. An ambitious financial inclusion target cannot be reached without closing the gender gap; this entails addressing these requirements, and others, with a gender lens.