Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, a subsidiary of Standard Bank Group, has urged for enhanced collaboration between financial service providers and telecom carriers in order to promote financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Babatunde Ogunleye, the equity research analyst at Standard Bank Group West Africa, emphasized the importance of improving Nigeria’s financial inclusion index.
Nigeria, he claims, has yet to reach its financial inclusion targets, with an estimated 38 million adult population lacking access to financial services.
In terms of bridging the gap, Babatunde stated that this gap may be crossed through a strategic collaboration between banks, fintech, and telecoms companies. Despite banks’ attempts to reach the unbanked and underserved through mobile money services, there is still a need for deeper penetration to meet the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) 95 per cent financial inclusion target by 2024”.
Citing a recent report from the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), which stated that over 48 million Nigerians have Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) as of June 2021, he stated that the financial inclusion level could be increased, given the country’s estimated 170 million mobile phone penetration.
According to Babatunde, telecom companies could help to expand Nigeria’s financial inclusion because they are closer to the people than financial service providers. He also mentioned that the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service might be used to increase financial inclusion in rural areas with limited or no internet access.