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Cardoso: Financial Inclusion Key to Building Inclusive, Sustainable Economy

Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, has said that financial inclusion is essential for building an inclusive and sustainable economy. He stated this at the launch of the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access’ (EFInA) 2023 Access to Financial Services in Nigeria (A2F) survey findings in Lagos on Wednesday. According to the survey findings, the number of financially excluded Nigerians dropped to 26 per cent in 2023 from 32 percent in 2020. This means that the country’s financial inclusion rate increased from 68 per cent in 2020 to 74 per cent this year.

Harping on the theme of the event, “Building a more inclusive and sustainable economy: The role of financial inclusion,” in his keynote address, Cardoso, who was represented at the launch of the survey findings by the Director, Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department at the CBN, Mr. Chibuike Nwagerue, stated that while the apex bank and other stakeholders in the financial system are aspiring to build a strong and broad-based economy, their focus “must be to ensure that the economy can promote growth, efficiency, stability, and inclusiveness in the distribution of the gains of financial development.”

Specifically, he said: “An inclusive and sustainable economy is hinged on two factors: inclusivity (ensuring that the economy works for everyone) and sustainability (ensuring the protection of the economy for the future). These two factors are critical in developing macroeconomic policies in the country, underscoring the importance of inclusive growth, both in the short run and the long run. “Sustainable economic practices contribute to long-term economic resilience. This provides the backdrop for key interconnected elements in the broader economic development framework like Gross Domestic Product growth, inflation reduction, and price stability.

“To the economy, inclusivity ensures that individuals and Nano, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises have access to affordable and appropriate financial services which would in turn help in the expansion of operations, investment in new technologies, and the creation of more job opportunities. A gainfully employed populace translates to more people in the formal economy.”

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