According to the findings of the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFIA) study, about 36% of Nigeria’s 106 million adults do not have access to regulated and unregulated financial services. Furthermore, while the findings suggest a slight decline in the percentage of financially excluded adults over the years, overall “the actual number of financially excluded adults increased from 36.6 million to 38.1 million.”
Population Growth Rate Faster than Financial Inclusion Growth Rate
Additionally, the study’s findings suggest that this number (financially excluded adults) has risen to 52.5 million, when excluding those seeking access through so-called informal or unregulated financial services.
Meanwhile, in report good, EFIA attributes this mismatch (between the number of Nigerians who are unbanked (in percentage terms) and the actual number of excluded adults) to the population growth rate. In fact, according to the EFIA, Nigeria’s population growth rate is currently outpacing the “financial inclusion growth rate”.
On the other hand, compared to previous studies, the latest findings show that Nigeria’s “proportion of adults serving formally has increased for the first time since 2014.” Yet, despite this apparent drop in the number of unbanked adults, Nigeria still lags behind countries such as South Africa and Rwanda, where only 7% of the adult population does not have banking access.
As the findings of the study conducted between November 2020 and February 2021 show that Kenya is the country with the lowest number of adults (11%) who are unbanked, while Burkina Faso (39%) has the highest number of is.
Importance of digital financial services
Also of particular importance to emerging fintech advocates are the findings of the study emphasizing the growing importance of digital financial services in Nigeria. The EFIA study report stated:
The increase in digital financial services, agent networks and mobile phone ownership (now 81%) highlights the opportunity to drive rapid financial inclusion growth through digital financial services such as mobile money.
However, the study report fails to share details of the actual digital financial services or products that Nigerians are using. Instead, the report only discusses the potential impact of the growing impact of mobile money on Nigeria’s financial inclusion goals.
What are your thoughts on the latest number of Nigerians who do not have a bank? You can share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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