Since the beginning of the Boko Haram crisis in the North Eastern part of Nigeria, thousands have been affected, with many Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) forced to live temporarily at camps across the country. While the military continues its efforts to secure the country, these displaced Nigerians continue life at the camps even as they wait to be resettled back to their homes. Displaced from their homes, disconnected from their daily jobs, many Internally Displaced Persons are stuck at the bottom of the economic ladder and remain part of extremely poor Nigerians, estimated at 80 million according to recent reports. Camp residents remain unbanked for several reasons; chief among them being loss of identification documents during unexpected crisis that ravaged their communities
In 2016, the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) was initiated by the Federal Government with the knowledge that millions of Nigerians at the base of the economic pyramid lack access to credit facilities. Many of these Nigerians are at IDP camps, displaced from their daily sources of income and uncertain about their future. To reach this population in desperate need of loans with which they can transform their lives, in January 2019, the TraderMoni team visited Bocolis, Teacher’s Village, Custom’s House, and Learning Centre, all IDP camps in Maiduguri, Borno state.
At the camps, TraderMoni enumerators met with thousands of IDPs, educated them about the TraderMoni scheme and enumerated them by taking their details especially their phone number. Through a partnership with the Bankers Committee, a group that represents all Nigerian commercial banks and Airtel Nigeria, camp residents without mobile phones were given TraderMoni branded mobile phones and free sim cards through which they were able to access their mobile wallets. After this, they received the initial ten thousand Naira TraderMoni loans.
Through a simple technology-driven process, largely tied to a phone number which also doubles as a mobile wallet, database that contains the names and contact details of every beneficiary, TraderMoni is not only including them in the financial ladder but giving them seeds with which they can start a new life.
When repaid, the interest and collateral free loans, also provides an avenue for these beneficiaries to access larger loans, giving them better opportunities to improve their lives. If these beneficiaries repay their first loan as promised, they immediately qualify for N15,000. After payback of the second loan, they qualify for a N20,000 loan, and then N50,000, and then N100,000. Through a methodical and gradual process, their businesses will grow in an organic manner. The beneficiaries promised to repay.
As the country continues its race to financial inclusion, Nigerians at the IDP camps are not left behind.
“These initiatives are aimed at expanding financial inclusion because we have over 23 million Nigerians who are financially excluded, as this administration aims to reach them so that they can grow their businesses,” he said that so far 12 billion Naira has been disbursed in loans to a total of 1.2 million people; the target is to disburse a total of 20 billion Naira to 2 million people across Nigeria.