EFInA Hosts Discourse on Increasing Opportunities for Women in Agent Banking in Nigeria

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019  / 07:50PM / Bukola Akinyele for Proshare WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV

 

The Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access Group, EFInA a financial sector development organization, yesterday hosted its 2019 Agent Network Breakfast series in Lagos. 

The CEO of EFInA, Mr. Esaie Diei in his opening remarks informed stakeholders that about 20.5 million women are financially excluded in Nigeria. 

Diei said that to close the gender gap in financial access in Nigeria,  there is a need to encourage more participation of women in Agent Banking.

 

According to EFInA’s CEO the objective of the Agent Network Breakfast Series was to achieve the following; 

  • Evaluate the gender dynamics in Agent Banking
  • Identify the issues hindering the participation of women in Agency Banking
  • Highlighting opportunities to close the Gender gap
  • Share insight that will enable financial services providers to design financial product in services with value for female Agent
  • To share conversation and initiative that will drive the development of widespread female agent Network across Nigeria especially in Northern State 
  • Identify challenges in the real in participation of women in Agent Banking and ways to overcome these barriers. 

 

Speaking further Diei outlined the following as key expectations of the forum; 

  • Implementing winning strategies for female Agents in Various Organization
  • EFInA participants updating there status from time to time in respect 0f engagement as part of an Agent Networking Strategy to support women financial inclusion

 

Programme Specialist of EFInA, Mr Henry Chukwu, also gave a presentation on “Assessing the Impact of Female Agents in Driving Financial Inclusion in Nigeria”.

He informed stakeholders that the recent survey carried out by EFInA revealed the following; 

  • 50 million Adult women in Nigeria, are between the ages of 13-35.
  • 14% of the 50million Adult women  own mobile phones
  • 57% of the women have formal education and 74% live in rural areas across the country
  • Only 1% of the women have insurance packages
  • Only 24% of women owns MSMEs across sub-Sahara Africa.
  • 100% of the women who are financially excluded receive their primary income in cash.
  • 92% of the women say the  reason why they save and keep their money at home,  is because of  proximity, confidence and quick access to their funds.

The EFInA survey conducted in 2017 on Tradition Agent services, interviewed 818 agents who were randomly selected from  database of about of 29, 000. From the survey only 22% were female. 

It also revealed that  majority of  the women who are excluded,  don’t use  bank services because of factors like cost, slow pace, distance, unemployment, and irregular income. 

To close the gender gap and create more opportunities for women in the agency banking space, financial industry players should evolve solutions round proximity and affordability. 

The Business case for driving female participation in the agency banking, revolving some of these key issues;

 

Business Model in Female Agents 

  • Many study have shown that women prefer to show wise interaction than men in financial terminology 
  • Female Agent enhance communication and comfort level for women customers 
  • Female agent create reassuring environment for transaction for both male and female customers as they are patient and more willing to spend time to address queries from the customers. 
  • Studies have also shown that female agent help customer  to stick to a provider 
  • They are diligent, helpful and supportive and this helps to build trust in an environment.

 

On the way forward  Chukwu highlighted the following key issues that should be given top priority;

 

Way Forward

  • The need to address Institutional barriers affecting women participation in Agency Banking
  • The need to design financial products that are suitable for women
  • The need to adopt a program for Agent Banking Models that are adaptable for women
  • Address the issue in institutional challenges on lack of capital, and low quality training.
  • Identify and provide reliable information for female Agents
  • Service Providers should think of creating ways that are culturally appropriate to integrate women into their networks, in order to grow customer service.
  • Create awareness on locations where women can access funds


Frama Godfrey a female agent from Kaduna State shared her experience at the Agent Network Breakfast Meeting.

Sharing  her experience, Godfrey said she started her business with N30,000, with her major customers as women , who did more of  cash withdrawals.

She noted the challenge she faced in the area of network connectivity, stating that she carried out  40-60 transactions  daily, employs more of females, and made a commission of N50-70,000 every month. 


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