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Financial Inclusion Rises to 74% in Nigeria, CBN Governor Calls for Continued Innovation

Nigeria’s financial inclusion rose to 74% in 2023, according to the latest Access to Finance Report launched by the non-governmental organization Enhancing Financial Inclusion and Access.

The report, unveiled at an event in Lagos, reflects a positive trend in expanding the financial services ecosystem within the country.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Dr. Olayemi Cardoso, commended the collaborative efforts of stakeholders in bolstering financial inclusion but emphasized the crucial need for continued innovation to address the remaining gaps.

Represented by Chibuike Nwaegerue, the CBN Director of Other Financial Institution Supervision, Dr. Cardoso acknowledged the strides made by financial inclusion stakeholders and called for sustained efforts to leverage innovative solutions.

“Over the past couple of years, financial inclusion stakeholders have made tremendous efforts in expanding financial service access through the rapid deployment of agents and the development of a mix of products suitable for the financially excluded demographics,” noted Nwaegerue on behalf of the CBN governor.

He highlighted recent initiatives, such as the CBN’s guidelines on linking Tier 1 accounts to the Bank Verification Number (BVN) and National Identification Number (NIN), aimed at ensuring the safety of the banking space for both the financially excluded and the broader economy.

Dr. Cardoso urged all stakeholders to explore innovative means to further enhance financial inclusion, aligning it with the nation’s economic growth objectives.

The event also featured insights from Lamido Yuguda, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who stressed the importance of evolving financial inclusion strategies beyond merely bringing individuals into the formal banking sector.

Represented by Dayo Obisan, the Executive Director of Operations at SEC, Yuguda emphasized the need for long-term thinking, ensuring that financial inclusion translates into sustained benefits for all participants.

As Nigeria celebrates the positive momentum in financial inclusion, the call for innovation echoes through the financial landscape, emphasizing the ongoing commitment to building a more inclusive and robust economic future.

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