Embrace Financial Excluded To Boost Economy, EFINA tasks Stakeholders
By Olabisi Olaleye
Stakeholders’ in the financial sector have been tasked to see the financially excluded as partners and asset to boost economic growth and increase Gross Domestic product, GDP.
This statement was made by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), Board Chair, Mr. Segun Akerele during FinTech Breakfast forum in Lagos.
EFInA is a financial development organization funded by DFID and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
According to him, digital financial service system has a role to play in to reach low income earners and people in the rural areas.
“The essence of the forum is to request information from FinTechs on how EFInA can stimulate innovation targeted at the financially excluded through its grants, advocacy, research and capacity building.
He addressed over 40 different FinTech companies, regulators and digital financial service consultants that attended the forum.
Also buttressing his points, EFInA’s Programme Specialists Payments, Folasade Agbejule, affirmed that over 41.6 per cent are financially excluded while presenting a paper on ‘Potentials For Driving Financial Inclusion Uptake through FinTechs’
She said that the EFInA Access to financials survey of 2016 which covers about 23,000 respondents across Nigeria, revealed that 41.6 per cent of adults are financially excluded despite the fact that they have access to mobile phones.
“Also, these adults do not have access to formal and informal financial services. The digital financial service system has a role to play in this situation to reach low income earners and people in the rural areas”.
L-R: Oladimeji Taiwo; the special assistant to Chairman of Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum at CBN, Hamad Kamal; Head of Trade and Investment Uk Trade, Topsy Kola-Oyeneyin; Associate Principal, Mckinsey & Company, Segun Akerele; EFInA Board Chairman and Tunde Kehinde; Co-founder; Lidya, Ernest Obi; Flutterwave and Funmi Adesida; EFInA COO at the EFInA Inaugural FinTech Breakfast Forum in Lagos.
Also speaking, Associate Principal, Mckinsey and Company, Kola Oyeneyin, during her presentation on ‘Opportunities in Digital Financial Inclusion’, said “There is huge potential for digital involvement in Nigeria’s financial services but this can only be attained if the three required building blocks are put in place. These building blocks are:widespread digital infrastructure, dynamic financial services market and the development of products people prefer to existing alternatives”.
Through its Innovation Fund, EFInA targets the economically deprived population. Launched in 2009, the fund shares risks with Financial Service Providers (FSPs) by providing grant subsidies through the Technical Assistance Grant and the Innovation Grant to the tune of $250,000 and $2 million respectively. The focus areas include agent networks, electronic payment, financial inclusive products and services especially across Northern Nigeria, women and financial literacy projects.
The event involved a panel session where panelists including Segun Akerele, Tunde Kehinde; Co-Founder Lidya, Ngozi Dozie; Co-founder Paylater/OneFi, Jude Njugo; Beyond Credit CEO and NonnyMerenu; Unilever Sustainability Manager discussed issues relating to: the current state of financial inclusion in Nigeria, the FinTech landscape, the role of the Central Bank of Nigeria in driving financial inclusion in Nigeria as well as the barriers and challenges of the low income population to access financial services.
While the panel, moderated by Tunji Elesho; CcHub Growth Capital fund and Suzanne Adeoye; EFInA Grants Manager identified the regulatory landscape, the availability of credible data as very important factors in the development of digital financial services.
The FinTechs that attended the forum generally agreed that there was a need for constant dialogue between all stakeholders’ so that the current obstacles to financial inclusion can be removed and the FinTechs can play an important role in the development of the economy and the promotion of financial inclusion in Nigeria.