To overcome the economic, religious, and social factors that prevent the women of northern Nigeria from accessing finance, the African Development Bank has signed a grant agreement for $500,000 with Y’ello Digital Financial Services (YDFS), a fintech subsidiary of MTN Nigeria.
The research, which includes a feasibility study, women-focused design, and testing, will focus on both agents and customers to provide insights into women’s use of mobile money services, will be funded through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI).
Despite being the continent’s largest economy, 55% of rural Nigerians still lack access to financial services. The region’s rate of mobile money adoption currently stands at 4%, with an agent ratio of 228.8 agents per 1,000 adults. Political instability and conservative cultural norms in parts of Northern Nigeria are thought to present barriers to women’s access to finance. In addition to this, 80% of agent positions within the region are held by men.
“The African Development Bank, through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), is delighted to support this project, furthering our work to improve the quality of life for people in Nigeria and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly as relates to poverty, and gender inclusion,” said Stefan Nalletamby, African Development Bank Director of Financial Sector Development.
On behalf of YDFS, Usoro Usoro, Chief Executive Officer, added: “We are truly excited about this partnership with the African Development Bank, and the possibilities for advancing financial inclusion in Nigeria, particularly for the traditionally excluded segment of women in Northern Nigeria.”