Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor.
By Adeola Badru
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has explained how the financial sector in the country has undergone waves of rapid development through the emergence of the digital economy.
The apex bank gave the explanation yesterday at the maiden edition of International Financial Inclusion Conference 2022 in Abuja, in connection with the National Financial Inclusion Governance Committee.
In a statement by Olaoluwa Oluwasola and made available to Vanguard, CBN said it has shown its interest in creating opportunities for Nigerians to have access to financial services that would address their needs and enhance their quality of lives.
According to the statement, the conference with the theme: “Financial Inclusion for all: Scaling Innovative Digital Models,” was the first to be held since the launch of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) in 2012.
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The statement added: “The NFIS set the target of reducing the percentage of adult Nigerians that do not have access to financial services from 46.3% in 2010 to 20.0% in 2020.
“Since the launch of the NFIS, stakeholders have achieved great strides in achieving financial inclusion objectives which has resulted in the exclusion rate dropping from 46.3% in 2010 to 35.9% in 2020.
“Presently, the financial sector has undergone waves of rapid development through the emergence of the digital economy.
“The rapid expansion and ever increasing diversity of financial services and products deployed within the Fintech ecosystem presents significant opportunities to further fast track the expansion of financial inclusion to a greater number of Nigerians to have access to financial services that would address their needs and enhance their quality of life.
“The International Financial Inclusion Conference 2022 brings together delegates, experts and speakers from within and outside the country will examine the challenges, gaps and opportunities with a view to identifying concrete solutions and interventions that would fast track the achievement of the Nation’s Financial Inclusion objectives.
“The conference featured the launch of the revised National Financial Inclusion Strategy, the Nigeria Financial Services Map (NFS Map), the Women Agent Framework and the Fintech Strategy. It will also feature Financial Inclusion Awards in recognition of digital financial services (DFS) ecosystem actors contributing to the advancement of financial inclusion in Nigeria.
“Enhancing Financial Innovation &Access (EFInA) is a financial sector deepening organization that promotes the development of an all-inclusive and growth-promoting financial system in Nigeria.
“With over 24 million USD invested to accelerate the impact of financial and economic inclusion interventions in Nigeria as well as contributions to the increased focus on financial inclusion in Nigeria, convening and supporting stakeholders to develop and work toward the implementation of a National Financial Inclusion Strategy.
“Over 5 million Nigerians have been formally included from this investment (about 2 million women inclusive).
“More than 35,000 agents have been recruited as a result of these innovation fund investments with more than 8,525 were women.
“As part of strategic activities in line with conference, EFInA is scheduled to launch the National Financial Inclusion Dashboard on its website, this tracks the National Financial Inclusion 2020 targets, and will participate in a panel session titled: “Deepening digital financial services adoption and usage,” to share innovative digital financial inclusion models that has opportunity to advance adoption of digital financial services among women, youth, and low-income Nigerians.
“The International Financial Inclusion conference is an opportunity to showcase all innovative strategies we have implemented since the launch of the National Financial Inclusion 2012 strategy to get us to 51% of Nigerians served by the formal financial system,” said EFInA CEO Isaiah Owolabi.
He further stated that “EFInA is committed to supporting key stakeholders to leverage data to accelerate the impact of their financial inclusion intervention.
“The dashboard highlights the trend and sets the stage for the launch of the new National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2022-2024.
“The International Financial Inclusion Conference 2022 presents a unique opportunity to showcase advancements in financial inclusion in Nigeria, spotlights other jurisdictional experiences, and will serve as a platform for policymakers, financial institutions and other stakeholders to engage on contemporary issues such as innovation, digital technology, and the role of collaboration in achieving financial inclusion for all Nigerians,” the statement concluded.