Thursday, December 10, 2020 / 12:12PM / Ecobank /Header Image Credit: Ecobank
ManagingDirector, EcobankNigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has said the biggest growth opportunities indigital financial inclusion lies in the ability to combine the mobile phone,cards, and agency banking services in the most cost effective and convenientway to reach the citizenry on a sustainable basis. Akinwuntan, who made thissubmission at the Ecobank-Vanguard Digital Financial Inclusion virtual summitin Lagos on Tuesday explained that bank branches and ATM channels are costintensive to scale and less attractive to mass market financial serviceproviders. He said agency banking, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data(USSD), mobile app, card services, including internet banking and chat botsremain optimum channels for digital financial inclusion.
TheEcobank Managing Director explained that digital financial inclusion entailsdeployment of cost saving digital means to reach financially excluded andunderserved population with a range of financial services suitable to theirneeds and delivered at affordable cost, noting that it offers lots of benefitsto all players in the value chain and also engenders wealth creation, driveseconomic growth and sustainable development. Further, he observed that theNigerian financial inclusion trend has improved significantly, with exclusionrate declining 15.7 per cent between 2008 and 2018.
"Thereis sustained growth in digital financial inclusion, and it is largely driven bycustomer changing demands; entrance of non-traditional players such asFintechs, Payment Service Banks (PSBs);mobile services penetration and enabling regulatory environment. With theintroduction of mobile wallet Tier 1 accounts accessible with a phone number,agency banking, micro-lending, mobile BVN, micro-insurance, cashlesspolicy and others we should now begin to move from poverty alleviation towealth creation for the citizenry. Further partnership and collaboration of allstakeholders remains critical to deliver further growth in digital financialinclusion. Ecobank has been committed to driving digital financial inclusionthrough her pan Africa network advantage, award winning capabilities andvarious flagship products and services. We collaborate with Fintechs in Africa,as we are present across 33 countries in Africa. If you wish to bring yourinnovation into the financial system, you can reach out to us and we will guideyou through the required regulatory requirements and then integrate yourinnovation into our digital payments and financial system". He stated.
Inhis presentation, Chief Executive Officer, 9mobile, Alan Sinfield, said thoughthe telecom operators are playing a vital role in financial inclusion ofunbanked and underbanked, collaboration and partnership of all stakeholders waskey to increase volume of digital transactions and mobile money activities. Helauded CBN for granting licenses to3 Payment Service Banks (PSBs), stating that the PSBs will further helpto drive financial inclusion and critically stimulate savings and investment asmore liquidity is mobilized from the informal sector to the mainstreamfinancial system that will translate to increased economic activities.
"Telcomoperators in Nigeria have a customer advantage that financial institutionscould benefit from to deepen their penetration. Banking started beforetelecommunication, but there are more active mobile lines than active bankaccounts in Nigeria. A very key indication that we can achieve more throughcollaboration". He stated.
Alsospeaking, Director, Payment System Management, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),Mr Jimoh Musa averred that financial inclusion is at the heart of the apex bankas it has been playing active role though the strategy is for the wholeeconomy, stressing that the CBN is interested in the progress of financialinclusion in Nigeria. He lauded Ecobank and Vanguard for providing theplatform to discuss financial inclusion to support the effort of makingfinancial services available to Nigerians. He disclosed that CBN is coming upwith other strategies in 2021 basically to enhance the operating environmentmore conducive for every participant in the payment system with special focuson Fintech. He added that the apex bank has done creditably well in agencybanking, mobile money operations, digital banking, industry cost to service,and requirements of opening bank account to promote financial inclusion.
TheEcobank Vanguard Digital FinancialInclusion summit was designed to convene policy makers, operators, business andthought leaders as well as industry professionals to chat the way forwardfor the Nigerian digital financial landscape, specifically financial inclusionfor most citizens operating within the informal sector of the economy.
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