How we’re improving financial inclusion in Nigeria

In 2020, Nigeria’s National Financial Inclusion strategy was to reach 80% of the Adult population but this didn’t exactly work out as only 64% of Nigerian adults are currently financially included: formally and informally, that simply means we have 38 million Nigerian adults who remain completely financially excluded.

Before we go any further, what does it really mean to be financially included? According to worldbank.org, to be financially included means individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way. Simply put, when an individual is financially included they have a functional bank account, they have access to affordable loans and they can carry out transactions directly with their financial institution.

The truth is, a country with a more financially included populace will have better economic growth and sustainable development. A nation is only as rich as its people. The more we have people who have access to financial services in Nigeria – who can trade better, afford quality education, enjoy a higher standard of living and so much more, the better Nigeria will be for it.

One way to exponentially increase the rate of financial inclusion is through Agency Banking. Agency banking is simply the use of authorized persons (agents) to render banking services to individuals on behalf of a bank. Agency banking is affordable and accessible because it requires very little facilities to set up, operate and manage. 

In our quest to improve financial inclusion in Africa, we became the exclusive partner of SANEF (Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities). SANEF is an initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), supported by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) and Licensed Mobile Money Operators/Shared Agents. SANEF manages all agency banking operation in Nigeria

We built COVr Branchless, an agency banking suite which integrates with portable mobile phones, web and POS devices to automate key financial operations like account opening creation, instant debit card linking, agent-based deposit, cash withdrawals, fund transfer, bills payment, KYC validation, and loan origination as well as other specific services all in the field on behalf of the Bank or Financial Institution.

With over 10 financial institutions using COVr, we’ve bridged the gap between financial access and millions of individuals across multiple countries in Africa. We have seen how one solution can impact the lives of so many and we’re excited to build even more products to drive sustainable financial access through tech in Africa. 

We have partnered with organizations in Guinea, Gambia, Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana and we will be unveiling our operations in these countries soon. In the meantime, we are working closely with one of our clients to build a digital bank that will completely revolutionize how the unbanked access financial services. Watch this space!

Our vision remains to promote financial inclusion for all Africans and significantly contribute to Africa’s economic rise and we can’t wait to launch our next solution  for achieving this!

Hope you enjoyed reading this and learning about our work in the Agency Banking Sector.

See you in our next blog post!

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