The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday, 29th September 2020 launched the Framework for Advancing Women's Financial Inclusion in Nigeria.
The Launch which took place virtually, had 170 participants in attendance from partner institutions from across the world and was chaired by Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, the CBN's Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability. The Keynote address was delivered by the Honorable Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development who was represented by her Special Adviser, Princess Joan Jummai Idonijie. In his opening remarks, Mr. Phillip Yusuf Yila - Director, Development Finance Department of the CBN thanked all contributors to the Framework for their dedication and commitment and highlighted the 'Power of Parity' report by McKinsey which projected a $28 trillion addition to global annual GDP by 2025 from gender equality initiatives. He stated that the improvement of women's participation across the agricultural value chain and closing the gender gap in agricultural financing were in the front burner of the bank's development financing agenda.
Similarly, key partners like Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) and the Women's World Banking (WWB) also provided insights into their roles in supporting the process of documenting the critical imperatives to driving women's financial inclusion in Nigeria. This was followed by a ceremony to unveil the Framework by Mrs. Amina Umar, Head of the Financial Inclusion Secretariat (FIS). A Technical Panel Session on efforts to drive women's financial inclusion in Nigeria was moderated by Mr. Ade Ashaye, the Executive Vice President of WWB. Panelists included: Mrs. Ambah Hamda - MD/CEO, FSDH Merchant Bank and Chairperson of the Bankers Committee subcommittee on Economic Development, Sustainability and Gender, Mrs. Ronke Kuye - CEO, Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities Limited (SANEF), Mrs. Ijeoma Nwagwu - Faculty Member, Lagos Business School and Gender Lead, Sustainable and Inclusive Digital Financial Services (SIDFS) and Mrs. Oladoyin Olawaiye - Component Lead, Sustainable Economic Development Programme (SEDIN), GIZ.
The panel session featured discussions on how financial services providers can better develop products and services suitable for women; improving the number of female agents in the field and its critical role in helping women build trust in financial services providers, the need for continuous financial literacy to build women's capabilities, and the development of sustainable, gender-centric models to cater to low income and financially excluded women in the country. The panelists were unanimous in calling for regulators to mandate gender-disaggregated data from financial services providers in order to inform better policy decisions. Technical presentations were made during the launch, including a presentation on the Assessment of Women's Financial Inclusion in Nigeria, delivered by Mrs. Ashley Immanuel â€“ Ag. CEO, EFInA and a presentation on the '8' (eight) Strategic Imperatives for driving Women's Financial Inclusion by Mrs. Njideka Nwabukwu - Head, Gender Desk, FIS-CBN as well the Implementation Roadmap by Ms. Sophia Abu - Financial Inclusion Gender Specialist, FIS-CBN. Dr. Paul Oluikpe, Associate Head, FIS-CBN facilitated an interactive session with the panelists and paper presenters. During this session, participants engaged the panelists on specifics around digital financial literacy for northern women and testing pilot schemes for impact evaluation of efforts to drive women's financial inclusion.
The launch of the Framework is a critical step in the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria towards closing the 8.5% financial inclusion gender g0ap in Nigeria and achieving 95% financial inclusion by 2024. Accordingly, a Community of Practice (COP) model has been adopted to engage all relevant stakeholders in the implementation of the strategic imperatives in the Framework.