The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria has described digital finance as a vital tool for financial inclusion, saying it will help to penetrate both the unbanked and under banked in the country.
The CIBN President, Prof. Segun Ajibola, spoke during his welcome address at the institute’s 5th annual seminar for women tagged, “Leveraging digital disruption for women’s economic inclusion.’’
The event was organised by the CIBN Centre for Financial Studies.
According to Ajibola, the annual event is designed to promote women’s economic empowerment through a gender inclusive workplace culture in the financial services industry.
To drive financial inclusion, he said financial technology companies were expected to play a key role in providing women with access to financial services by designing specific and understandable products solutions that are more adaptable to their financial needs and preferences.
He observed that if the gender economic inclusion gap would be bridged, collaboration between Fintech companies and the conventional financial institutions were crucial.
The CIBN president said, “There is no gainsaying the fact that women have unequal access to economic opportunities. As at 2016, startling statistics from the World Economic Forum revealed that 42 per cent of women and girls worldwide totalling 1.1 billion remain outside the formal financial system.”
“In Nigeria, available statistics from the Alliance for Financial Inclusion 2016 revealed a significant increase in the gender inclusion gap from 7.3 per cent to 20.7 per cent between 2012 and 2014.”
The Chairperson, Association of Professional Women Bankers, Mrs. Toyin Ojo, noted that gender inclusion gap was yet to be overcome globally, saying more needed to be done to achieve parity in women’s access to financial services and products.
She said, “With physical banking services perceived as less accessible to women, digital financial services have been hailed as guiding lights towards narrowing the financial inclusion gap.”
The General Manager, Enhancing Financial Innovative and Access, Lima Quaynor, said financial service providers could capture the market of the excluded women by focusing on their specific needs.