• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Lack of phones, education threaten women’s financial inclusion

Financial inclusion and digital identity lessons from India

Women in the agricultural sector living in rural and underserved environments face various challenges that impact their financial inclusion growth and ability to own a national identity number (NIN) in Nigeria.

These challenges faced by female agricultural communities and their impact on livelihoods include access to mobile phones, gender, community of residence, and level of education influence their NIN possession, according to a recent report by Inclusion for all (I4ALL) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

The report revealed that Kano State recorded higher levels of NIN ownership (77 percent) among the respondent groups compared to Oyo (58.1 percent) and Rivers (46.6 percent) contradicting our hypothesis of lower enrolment rates in the North.

However, the research highlighted how socio-cultural norms can be used as a deliberate strategy to drive female enrolment in the North. The barriers to NIN enrolment remained consistent, from the cost of transportation to distance from enrolment centres and tedious enrolment processes.

“Women who are uneducated, have no access to a phone, and live in hard-to-reach communities are less likely to appreciate the advantages of access to technology and information, and thereby the benefits of enrolling for NIN,” Chinasa Collins-Ogbuo, convener and head of I4ALL, said.

The report which was unveiled at the Inclusion for all Dialogues event last Wednesday, brought together a selection of stakeholders to discuss and address the digital inclusion barriers faced by rural women in Nigeria’s agricultural value chain.

I4ALL aims to use data evidence to deepen understanding of the challenges faced by impoverished populations and collaborate with multiple stakeholders to advocate for their removal.

The ultimate objective is to drive increased ownership and usage of digital financial services, amongst the most excluded groups thus reducing financial exclusion nationwide.

The event featured an esteemed line-up of panelists who lent their expertise and insights to the event including, Janice Olawoye – Lead Research Consultant from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Osasuyi Dirisu – Executive Director, Policy Innovation Centre (PIC), Uche Chigbo – Director Operations, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and Paul Oluikpe – Head, Financial Inclusion Delivery Unit, Central Bank of Nigeria.

Read also: Kaduna has financial inclusion problem – KADRIMA

The insightful panel discussion shed light on the supply and demand side barriers to digital ID ownership for rural female agricultural workers and how they can be overcome to facilitate their active economic inclusion and participation by leveraging technology.

Also in attendance were notable personalities from various State Governments including Omotayo Adeola the SA, Trade & Investments Ekiti State Government, representing Biodun Oyebanji, His Excellency, Governor of Ekiti State, Osa Bazuaye, Head of Data Agency, Edo State Government, representing Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, His Excellency, Governor of Edo state and Zayyad Tsiga, Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Residents Identity Management Agency (KADRIMA).

“Our aim is to cultivate a strategic platform of cross-cutting actors with a shared goal to uncover the links that exist between income level, identity ownership, and financial inclusion in order to identify opportunities to accelerate the pace of digital financial inclusion”, Collins-Ogbuo, described the event and its relevance stating.