EFINA Committed to Nigeria’s Financial Inclusion by 2020


Sunday, April 21, 2019  /  12:30PM  /  Bukola Akinyele for Proshare WebTV


Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFINA) has restated its commitment to Nigeria’s target of achieving 80% financial inclusion for adults by 2020. 

The Chairman of EFINA’s Board Mr  Segun Akerele  made this known at a recent discussion on “Powering Financial Inclusion Through Fintech” in Lagos. 

Akerele reiterated the focus of EFINA in Nigeria which covers advocacy, digital finance, research and innovation.

According to Akerele, the strategy will be to empower women and youth in the country, enhancing access to financial services to them through innovation. 

Giving an overview of the financial inclusion programme in Nigeria across geo-political zones, Akerele revealed that;

  • South West Zone was normal in the area of financial inclusion rate
  • The North-West and North-East zones was very low in financial inclusion penetration
  • The South-East  and South-South were medium in their  financial inclusion index respectively

The CEO of EFINA Mr Esaie Diei speaking at the event, was pleased with the remarkable work that has been done since he assumed office in the area of reducing financial exclusion for adults in Nigeria. 

On its role in driving the digital financial services ecosystem, Diei said EFINA launched in 2018 “EFINA Fintech Fund” which was designed to support and promote innovative financial products and services , driven by digital technology.

He highlighted the fact that the Fintech fund comprised two categories namely;


  • Fintech Challenge Fund 1-Covering seed capital of $50,000 to $200,000 for Fintech startups with new ideas.
  • Fintech Challenge Fund 2 –Covering seed capital of $210,000 to $500,ooo to help scale the ideas, innovation and products of already established Fintech firms.


Diei also stressed that the objective of the Fintech fund was to provide financial services that are accessible to everyone especially the low income  segment, improving customer experience, enhancing the transparency of the financial services and increasing the adoption of the financial services with  affordable, valuable and reliable products. 

“To the innovators, stakeholders, venture capitalists and the entire  Fintech ecosystem, EFINA opens a new chapter of innovative collaboration, towards achieving the Nigerian financial inclusion target by 2020 ”, Diei said. 

Giving an update on the National Financial Inclusion Strategy Mr Stephen Abode, Head Digital Financial Services, Central Bank of Nigeria noted that in 2017, the 2012 NFIS 1.0 was reviewed with a view to improve the strategy and enhance the outcomes by 2020.

According to him the principle was providing a regulated level playing field that focuses on the activity and the actors, adopting a risk-based approach for the financial inclusion strategy. 

For the NFIS 2.0 Abode informed stakeholders that the mid-term strategy review identified high-priority themes to scale up the financial inclusion target achievements. 

He also stated that 6 out of the 9 critical areas identified is focused on enabling digital financial services and its ecosystem, to achieve greater financial inclusion. The CBN official also identified five gaps which the NFIS 2.0 identified namely;

  • Regional Gap
  • Formality Gap
  • Gender Gap
  • Age Gap
  • Urban-Rural Gap

Head of Innovation, EFINA Mrs  Dayo Ademola in her presentation revealed the following critical facts for the Global fintech industry;

  • Over $100bn has been invested in Fintechs globally-50% of this was in Digital Banking
  • 4 key success factors for international Fintech companies are: product innovation, strategic partnerships, digital mix and lower barriers to service
  • The Nigerian Fintech Ecosystem comprises of 210-250 Fintechs, 3 stakeholders, 4 enablers and funding partners who have invested over $250m since 2014.
  • 4 ways identified to improve financial inclusion through the Fintech include; more involvement from banks, increasing micro-credit access, enacting effective regulation and more innovative yet simple solutions.

The Deputy High Commissioner for the UK High Commission Ms Laure Beaufils in her remarks lauded EFINA for demonstrating its commitment to promoting and developing the the Fintech ecosystem in Nigerian and across Africa.

She said there were immense opportunities in the UK-Nigeria Fintech partnership which has exposed the ecosystem in the country to key players and investors in the United Kingdom. 

Beaufils reassured stakeholders that the Prime Minister of UK was committed to a robust and beneficial UK-Africa partnership. 

“At the heart of the UK partnership with Nigeria and Africa is driving financial inclusion to which Fintech plays a critical role in achieving access to products and services to even the rural areas and vulnerable people. Fintech has the potential to bring people into the formal system, which can increase revenue for Nigeria and it is good that the CBN has taken note of this”. Laure Beaufils said. 

The top British diplomat believed the recipients of the EFINA grants, will have the opportunity of developing Fintech solutions and products that will be beneficial to both UK and Nigeria. 


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