A financial inclusion seminar was organized, by Accion Microfinance Bank, on Wednesday, December 11, 2019, at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. Financial stakeholders and enthusiasts, from different sectors, gathered at the event, to be a part of the financial inclusion narrative that has been going on, lately, in the country.
Presenting the welcome address, Patrick Akinwuntan, Board Chairman, Accion Microfinance Bank stated that, the bank’s aim, in delivering financial inclusion to every household in Africa’s largest economy, (Nigeria), by leveraging digital platforms.
“As a financial institution, we are not just, in business, but we have a social responsibility of making of sure that, every Nigerian has access to financial independence and empowerment, in order to contribute significantly, to our economy”, he stressed.
“It is very important that, the discuss is not left to the banks, fintechs and professional bodies. We in the microfinance industry have the right, to lead the discuss, on financial inclusion”, Patrick opined.
According to Patrick, Accion Microfinance Bank, decided to set up this series, as a thought leadership process, to inform and advocate, for changes that bring to reality, the case for financial inclusion.
“The whole idea is, to build collaboration, so that, we can scale up. The real barrier to bringing financial services to every household is, the cost per unit of the service”, Patrick noted.
Patrick, also, explained that, the percentage growth of Nigeria’s financial inclusion, rose from the previous 40% in 2018 to 60% in 2019 and a trajectory of 80% by 2020 is envisaged.
“If we remain optimistic, with the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), program, in providing the enabling environment and with what the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, (CIBN), is executing, in building a positive platform, to implement financial inclusion, we should achieve the target of 80%”, he projected.
Delivering the first keynote address, Dr. Andrew Nevin, Chief Economist, PWC West Africa, spoke on, Building an Ecosystem of DFS players & opportunities, for MFIs collaboration.
According to him, Nigeria’s financial inclusion, reached its peak in 2018, largely, because of an increase in mobile and internet penetration, as well as, a preponderance of fintech firms.
Despite the improvement in Nigeria’s financial inclusion, it still trails some Sub Saharan African countries.
Andrew stated that, the way to financial inclusion is, through technology and that is, the competitive advantage of Microfinance banks in Nigeria.
According to him, Microfinance institutions can better drive financial inclusion, through digital transformation.
The second keynote address on, ‘Developing a Digital Mindset attracting and retaining skills’, was delivered by, Prof. Yinka David-West, Academic Director, Lagos Business School.
According to the Professor, humans are, likely, to be erased in this era, of financial inclusion, as we need to think about the whole process, in the perspective of scaling.
“What economic models are doing, with digital technology is, creation and changing the nature of work. It should concern us, while we are still in this productive economy”, Professor David-West noted.
She stressed that, digitisation is wasted, if the people are not empowered, to use technology. The whole idea of digital transformation is, about organisational design.
“Every time, we fail to do things in the digital way, coupled with our organisation, not putting systems in place, then, we may not progress”, she concluded.
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