According to former Director of Banking and Payments Systems at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Dipo Fatokun, financial inclusion is access to financial services available to the adult population in a given economy. These financial services include payment, insurance, pension, etc. The more adults who have access to financial services, the higher the financial inclusion.
In an Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) report, only 64% of Nigerian adults were financially included at the end of 2020. This means that 36% of Nigerian adults or 38 million adults remain completely financially excluded.
The landscape for financial inclusion in Nigeria includes great hopes and challenges. As Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria has the potential to drive consumers toward financial inclusion, but economic instability, among other factors, has made progress uncertain. Six in ten Nigerians (60%) live below the poverty line, with research showing that being poor, rural and less educated are all barriers to inclusion. Today, banking is leading the way in financial inclusion, with nearly three in ten adults (29%) having bank accounts. Three in 100 adults (3%) have mobile money accounts and the same number (3%) have non-bank financial accounts.
After committing to the Maya Declaration, the Nigerian government launched the National Financial Inclusion Strategy in 2012 to reduce the financially excluded to 20% by 2020. Although the target is ambitious, the strategy reflects its long-term commitment to expand access and use of financial services. to underserved populations.
Over the years, the government and monetary authorities have put in place various policies aimed at deepening financial inclusion in the economy. The policies ranged from various institutional implications such as the establishment of community banks and microfinance to specific policies and programs designed to facilitate the access of financially excluded people to formal financial services.
The challenge of inadequate financial inclusion does not only concern developing economies, from emerging countries to high income countries, governments design and implement policies aimed at ensuring the financial inclusion of the majority of the population.
A major challenge in the process of financial inclusion is to ensure that poor rural dwellers and underserved communities are trained, given the lack of financial sophistication of this segment of Nigerian society due to the generally low level of knowledge. financial. The majority of the 40 million financially excluded Nigerians are unaware of the services and benefits that arise from accessing financial services.
Y’ello Digital Financial Services (YDFS), a subsidiary of MTN Nigeria, is one of the leading Nigerian entities working to accelerate CBN’s financial inclusion campaign through MoMo agent services. It was launched in 2019, with the aim of providing safe and accessible money transfer services to financially underserved communities across Nigeria. Following the launch of the MoMo Agent service, YDFS recently announced the expansion of its MoMo products and services, with the aim of deepening financial inclusion in Nigeria.
As part of the expansion, MoMo Agent has been upgraded with bill payment, cash deposit and withdrawal, as well as data and airtime purchasing components. The upgrades also included bulk disbursement services, allowing public and private companies to make bulk payments anywhere in Nigeria, without a bank account, ATM or bank branch.
In addition, MoMo Agent’s cardless cash withdrawal service has been extended to more than 40 banks and other financial institutions nationwide, providing transparent financial solutions to more people. Initially exclusive to Access Bank, the service has now been expanded to include First Bank of Nigeria, Zenith Bank, GTBank Plc, United Bank of Africa and other leading commercial banks.
Using the service, customers can visit MoMo agents across the country to access funds in their bank accounts without the need for an automated teller machine (ATM) or ATM card. The service uses a secure getaway that protects customers from fraudulent transactions and requires transaction validation using their bank PIN.
With the cardless cash withdrawal service, MoMo Agents’ sustained innovation aligns with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) financial inclusion target of 95% by 2024.
MTN customers can dial * 223 # to locate the nearest MoMo agent.