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Nigerian lender, First Bank has reported $490 million (176.65 billion) worth of transactions through its mobile money agents.
The commercial bank said through its effort to deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria, its agent network which is currently at more than 22,000 has been able to record the above mentioned worth of transactions.
“After a successful roll out of the Firstmonie Agent network 2018, the business has grown to a network of over 22,000 agents processing over $490 million worth of transaction in monthly value and a unique transaction count of 10 million monthly,” Gbenga Shobo, deputy managing director, First Bank, said recently in Lagos during the Future of Finance West Africa Conference.
The financial institution mentioned that with over four million customers, the Firstmonie wallet platform is expected to its mobile money agents to 50,000 in 2019.
“Firstmonie has had a transformational impact on reaching low-income and historically unbanked households in Nigeria. It is integrating them into the wider financial system by providing access to a range of banking services including account opening, fund transfer capabilities, Identity management (BVN) and savings,” Shobo said.
Also, Chidinma Lawanson, Consultant, International Finance Corporation (IFC/World Bank) said that impressive growth recorded in Africa’s financial inclusion was driven by mobile money and agent banking.
She disclosed that mobile money users in Nigeria increased from 1.6 per cent in 2016 to 3.3 per cent in 2018, adding that adoption of mobile money in the country was still low.
According to EFInA, about 36.6 million Nigeria adults do not have access to financial services; this represents 36.8 percent of the total adult population of Africa’s most populated nation.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) therefore has about 16.8 percent financial exclusion gap to bridge in order for the country’s apex bank to achieve its target of 20 percent exclusion rate by the year 2020.
Lawanson said that more women should be financially included to achieve Nigeria’s target of 20 per cent financial exclusion adult population by 2020.
Out of the financially excluded Nigerian adult population, 44.1 percent are male and 55.9 percent are female, this leaves the gender gap at 11.8 percentage points, EFInA’s figures analysed by BusinessDay show.
Victor Olojo, national president, Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria, said that factors that would drive financial inclusion included – access, convenience, affordability, right technology and consumer protection.