By Modupe Gbadeyanka
New data on mobile phone ownership and internet access has shown huge opportunities to drive digital financial inclusion in Nigeria, the Head of Consumer Banking at Ecobank Nigeria, Mrs Olukorede Demola-Adeniyi, has said.
According to current statistics, about 84.6 million Nigerians, accounting for 47 per cent of the population, are unbanked, against mobile phone penetration which is up to 94.5 per cent.
In order to reduce the number of unbanked Nigerians, who are mostly in rural areas, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) came up with policies to digitise financial services.
Mrs Demola-Adeniyi, while speaking on a digital financial inclusion summit planned for October 21, 2020, stressed that the digitisation of payment and financial services has become an important economic development priority with the prospect of reaching far more people with a broad range of financial services they need to fight poverty and build resilience.
She reiterated that this was in line with Ecobank’s vision which is to consolidate a modern pan-African bank and to contribute to the economic development and financial integration of the continent.
The summit planned for next month is organised by Ecobank Nigeria in partnership with Vanguard Conferences and Economic Forum Series. The aim is to drive, promote and deepen financial inclusion amongst the unbanked and underbanked population in Nigeria.
The event will bring together trade groups and associations with large unbanked populations and individuals within the lower rung of the society who have not seen the need to be included in the financial sector or adopt financial services through digital platforms.
This is a direct response to encourage the adoption of innovative payment solutions and digital banking services in the post-COVID-19 era.
“There is no better time than now to harness the strength of our population and support people to embrace the financial system.
“Financial inclusion for us at Ecobank means taking banking to the people wherever they are. Our agency banking, that is the Ecobank Xpress Points, for instance, creates a consumer experience which is very good, as the customers can do simple deposit, payment and transfers in their own neighbourhood rather than travel for hours to a bank branch.
“The aim of the Xpress Point is to let every Nigerian and household have access to Ecobank services within their neighbourhood to provide easy banking services.
“This is the same objective for our mobile app and USSD platforms. We are desirous to put banking services at the fingertips of every citizen, no matter where they live,” Mrs Demola-Adeniyi.
“The upcoming digital financial Inclusion virtual summit speaks to the strong sense of confidence the bank has in us to help create content and context for the promotion and positioning of the brand given the strategic and thematic nature of the conversation, marketing power and prowess of our thought leadership programs in critical stakeholder audience engagements across different industry sectors and customer segments,” Mr Jude Ndu, the Director Vanguard Conferences and the Economic Forum Series, stated