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EFInA: Financial exclusion rate drops to 36.8 per cent
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EFInA: Financial exclusion rate drops to 36.8 per cent
[img=25x0]https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/a343966c7d7190edb1bee599cd0ee201?s=80&d=mm&r=g[/img] by Collins Nweze
 
 October 8, 2019


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The global pursuit of financial inclusion as a vehicle for  economic development has yielded positive impact in Nigeria as the exclusion rate has reduced from 53 per cent in 2008 to 36.8 per cent in 2018. Despite overall progress, gender gap still remains. According to the EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria, 57 per cent of women were financially excluded as against 49  per cent men in 2008.

The EFInA report disclosed that in 2018, 41 per cent of women are still excluded against 33 per cent of the male counterpart. “The gender gap increased from seven in 2008 to eight percentage points in 2018, indicating a systemic obstacle to women financial inclusion in Nigeria. Some of the factors driving financial exclusion among women stems from institutional, cultural barriers and socio-economic constraints. In some markets especially in gender segregated societies, women have limited access to public spaces, identification documents, bank accounts, mobile phones, and economic activities,” it said.

It said there was a predisposition that women offer better customer experience and women are more likely to access financial services from agent of same gender. “Microsave studies have shown that Female agents create reassuring environment for transactions for both male and female clients. Customers feel that female agents have more patience and are more willing to spend time to address queries or explain the features of a new product. However, there is no or little representation of women in agent banking across markets. More women in agent banking may be the key to close the gender gap in financial access in Nigeria,” it added.

More intentional action is needed to encourage more participation of women in agent banking. According to Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) study, enlisting female agents may be the most effective way to overcome low literacy rates, and build women’s confidence and trust in using financial services.


Providers need to  identify and provide reliable tailored information for female agents as part of the recruitment and on-boarding process, influence male family members to support female agents. Provide reliable information, and encouraging them to motivate female household members to become agents, address the issues of lack of capital, lower quality training and customer enrollment rate.

“Providers should invest in better understanding of this segment of their agent network as it will be very crucial for further business expansion. Adopt progressive and innovative agent models tailored to women to enable female agents to succeed. Providers should think of creative ways that are culturally appropriate to integrate women into their networks, if they are to grow their female customers and engage female field force as part of the agent recruitment and on-boarding team,” it said.

It added that providers need to understand the women segment of their agent network. Data analytics will provide insight into gender performance patterns generating knowledge to support Financial Services Providers (FSPs) in decisions that narrow gender gap in agent banking.
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