Friday, May 10, 2019 / 08.00AM / Bukola Akinyele for Proshare WebTV
Deepening Financial Inclusion for Women in Nigeria was the key focus of a stakeholder forum organized in Lagos, by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in partnership with Women’s World Banking Group, and Non-Governmental Organizations focused on making financial services and products accessible to women.
Executive Vice President(Networking) for the WWB Group, Mr Ade Ashaye, in his opening remarks told stakeholders that the NGO was a global authority on the advancement of financial inclusion for women.
According to Ashaye the WWB has a partnership with 52 institutions across 30 countries with the goal of reaching out to 30 million women.
He described women as remarkable clients when it comes to financial services and products provisions.
Ashaye was of the view that Nigeria needs to have willing partnerships that encourage women financial inclusion.
Representing the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Ifeoma Anagbogu, lauded the CBN, WWB and other stakeholders for hosting the forum and called for collaboration that will create a sustainable environment for expanding financial inclusion for women.
Anagbogu noted that the critical role of women in entrepreneurship should constitute one of the pillars of economic growth.
The Director, Risk Management, CBN, Folakemi Fatogbe who delivered the keynote address on behalf of the Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability, highlighted the following as challenges women face in the area of financial inclusion, they include;
She said that expanding access to financial services to women was the right thing to do in Nigeria, as the risk profile for businesses owned by women was much lower than those of men.
On the efforts of the CBN, Fatogbe said the regulator was a signatory to the “Maya Declaration” which led to the launch of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy that has women as part of its top priority.
The CBN Director also emphasised that education was vital for women, especially the area of financial literacy.
Kate Webster Executive Vice President, Market Research, Women’s World Banking Group giving an overview on “Making Finance for Women Globally”, described the following as issues facing the women in their quest to achieve inclusion;
She offered the following as solutions to improving financial inclusion for Women, which are;
“For the past 40 years women’s world banking has been empowering economies by investing in women, today 69% of Adults have an account which increases the gender account ownership in many markets and on digital inclusion 3.4 billion women have a mobile phone”. She said
Also speaking at the event the MD/CEO of EFINA Nigeria Mr Esaie Diei said women constitute part of its focus in driving financial inclusion in the country.
Diei also stressed that at the moment the gender gap in the financial inclusion index, is greatest among the oldest & youngest population, and for those who are co-habiting or in polygamous homes.
Citing a recent survey Mr Diei believed that technology was key to deepening financial access for women, as 84% of women in Nigeria have access to mobile phones.
He also joined the call for financial literacy for women in the country and revealed that apart from the North-West and North-East regions like the South-West and South-East also recorded increased gender gaps in financial inclusion, which calls for more inclusive policies for women in the country.