Africa, Nigeria is at a turning point, with diverse transformation to the business ecosystem but sadly, this has always been within a bubble. With, most of financial services just meeting the need of a particular part of the society, more often than none, leaving low income households and other vulnerable groups with almost no opportunity to improve their standard of living and no platform to contribute to the development of the nation’s economy. Thus, the push for inclusivity.
Inclusivity is a multifaceted concept with financial inclusion as a major part of it. Economic growth for any economy is dependent on the financial strength of such economy. And for economic growth to be sustainable, it has to include all levels of the society, as tons of activities are carried out daily across these levels.
Financial inclusion refers to all initiative that makes formal financial services available, accessible and affordable to all segments of the population. From those that are banked (properly served), to the unbanked (low income earners; woman selling Agege bread to the conductor at the motor park), financial inclusion involves making available useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their need and are delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.
Financial inclusion for all level of the society would imply, access to basic financial services from savings to making payments, getting loans, mortgage, etc. No one person has moved from one level of the society to another by relying on his or her personal savings, financial inclusion would enable the unbanked and under-served have access to loans using transaction history for credit score analysis, which would in turn allow them create better investment for themselves.
The benefits of financial inclusion would enable the financially excluded and the under-served build resilience against financial shock, like payment for education, sickness, etc. It would also give them the needed platform to create better opportunities for themselves as less time would be spent on financial worries.