• Monday, June 17, 2024
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GEEP: Establishing identities for Nigeria’s bottom of the pyramid

GEEP: Establishing identities for Nigeria’s bottom of the pyramid

The largest socio-economic pool of individuals in Nigeria, the bottom of the pyramid, is also the most under-represented till date. Recent numbers published by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics indicated that over 82 million Nigerians live on less than a dollar per day. Majority of this demographic are petty traders, artisans, and roadside sellers who have no formal identification, which is a major contributing factor to their limited presence in formal financial institutions.

In 2007, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) introduced an identity management system that was designed to give each Nigerian a unique identification number. Despite the progress made on this front, millions of individuals at the bottom of the pyramid were not captured, as long registration queues became the order of the day. With most bottom-of-the-pyramid individuals making a living from their day-to-day market activities, they found it hard to leave their businesses all day, just to be able to register for the national identification number. This further highlighted the gap that exists for poor and uneducated persons when trying to access socio-economic services. The GEEP programme aided in closing this gap by onboarding individuals at the bottom of the pyramid into formal financial systems. This did two things: (i)It provided a verifiable record of every unique individual and (ii) also gave them a platform to access financial services.

GEEP trained 17,000+ human bank agents who went into markets and hard to reach areas with a presence in all 36 states + FCT to identify and onboard petty traders, artisans and small business owners, using proprietary technologies and smartphones that enabled the registration, profiling and capture of these small businesses at their place of trade.

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These agents captured the bio-data of each petty trader/artisan along with a facial ID and location geo-tags that are able to pinpoint their exact business location. As a process innovation, the program uses big data and technology to break the barrier to identification and access to capital for underserved people.

The type of data collected in the program has enabled the profiling of traditionally shunned small-scale businesses and stimulated inclusion into formal financial systems through the adoption and use of mobile wallets and bank accounts. These mobile wallets/bank accounts are used for last-mile credit disbursements to approved micro and small businesses, all from the comfort of their daily businesses without long queues. In addition, this identity that now exists goes a step further to create the opportunity for credit history generation, a key factor for businesses to thrive in the general economy and attain financial deepening upon advancement from the program.

The programme today has the capacity to identify, register and onboard 689,580 (40 per agent) individuals per day with a goal to have provided formal identification and onboarding into financial systems for 25 million Nigerians by 2025.

Some Testimonials…

Mohammed Lawal, Calabash Seller, Gombe Central Market, Gombe

Mohammed Lawal, a Calabash seller in Gombe Central Market, Gombe shared his experience – “I have been doing this business for a long time and I have never received any assistance. When the GEEP team came into the market, I was asked a few questions, my photo was taken and I was registered. After 48 hours, I received a code on my phone and the money was transferred to my bank account. I am grateful to the Federal Government for this initiative.”

Joy Otubikel, Crayfish/Stockfish Seller, Aria Market, Enugu

Joy Otubike, Crayfish/Stockfish seller, Aria Market, Enugu – “I have been looking for ways to expand my small crayfish business, but I have never been able to get a loan from the bank. When I heard about GEEP in the market, I decided to register. I received the loan and it has helped me. I will continue repaying the loan, so I can get higher loans. Thank you GEEP for helping my business grow.”