Innovative and seamless identity management systems open doors of financial services to underserved demographics like youth and women, across Nigeria, according to Dotun Adekunle, Senior Vice President of Offline Business, Flutterwave.
He made this known at the maiden edition of Nigeria’s International Financial Inclusion Conference, a Central Bank of Nigeria initiative.
The conference which spanned November 23 to 24, 2022, sought innovative ways to make financial services solutions available to rural areas, women and young people.
“There is about an 11 percent gap in the financial inclusion of youth between the ages of 18 and 25,” said Ronke Kuye, CEO of Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF).
The CEO who moderated the panel discussion, which was themed “Winning Strategies for Reaching Youths and Rural Areas,” also said that there is a 24 percent gap between the rural and the urban areas.
“Driving reforms for youth financial inclusion requires thorough examination of the existing regulatory frameworks and public policy initiatives through different dimensions such as data collection, national strategies, regulatory reforms, and non-Regulatory (private) reforms,” said, Olasimbo Akinsorotu, Chief Youth Development Officer at the Enterprise Development and Promotion Department of the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development.
She believes these reforms are necessary to reduce the differences across various units and segments of the population as well as global standards. “For instance, the rate of financial inclusion for youths in rural Nigeria differs from urban average as well as global standards,” she added
Adekunle added that identity management can drive financial inclusion for youths and rural dwellers. It needs an overhauling to ensure easy access and onboarding for youth and rural dwellers.
Other solutions proffered by Adekunle include expanding existing channels to make financial services highly affordable and easily accessible to those who are financially excluded or underserved.
He also commented on the utilization of Social Media as an effective channel for driving Financial Inclusiveness especially among Youth and Digital Entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, Farida Tahir, CEO of Grassroot Microfinance Bank Limited, while reacting to the issue advocated for cultural sensitivity in designing financial solutions for people of the North East and North West.
“We can easily say that the lack of appropriate financial services suitable to the people of the regions explain the below expected rate of financial inclusion.
This is because people in the regions are predominantly Muslims who require Halal (financial) products and services that are unavailable despite efforts by stakeholders like the CBN”.
Tahir advocated for concerted effort in increasing the number of Islamic Microfinance Banks currently serving the region. She believes that this will play a key role in making financial services like payments, loans and insurance available to people of the region.
Concluding the panel, Abisola Onigbogi, Executive Director, Technical for ARM Pension Managers (PFA) Limited, advocated for education and financial literacy as a catalyst for driving financial inclusion. He clarified that education is central to ensuring all initiatives proffered by the panelists are achieved.