2017 World Bank Global Findex Database report on financial inclusion says that more than 60 million Nigerians are without bank accounts. The report, titled The Global Findex Database 2017: Measuring Financial Inclusion and the Fintech Revolution used data from a survey carried out in 144 countries, in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Gallup Inc.
Globally, 1.7 billion adults are unbanked [don’t use formal banks or semi-formal microfinance institutions to save or borrow money] even though more than half that number could access digital financial services. There was an increase in financial inclusion between 2014 and 2017.
Financial inclusion, which aims to “make financial services accessible at affordable costs to all individuals and businesses, irrespective of net worth and size respectively”, is important for the development of any economy. It means that people who have better access to financial services through traditional, bank accounts and digital payments have greater control over their money, and their savings, securing business loans, insurance and are better prepared for financial emergencies.
Financial inclusion is also important to achieving some of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, such as eradicating poverty, improving gender equality, and creating jobs.
Also, it promotes gender equality; easy access to financial services for women translates to participation in the nation-building process and economic growth of any country.
“When the government deposits social welfare payments or other subsidies directly into women’s digital bank accounts, the impact is amazing. Women gain decision-making power in their homes, and with more financial tools at their disposal, they invest in their families’ prosperity and help drive broad economic growth,” said Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said.