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COVID-19, Security Issues Slow Down Financial Inclusion Program -CBN Report

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CBN Says COVID-19 and Insecurities Slow Down Financial Inclusion Program for 2020

A report released on Monday by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access has revealed that Nigeria is far behind in its pursuit of financial inclusion target for the year.

In the report titled “Assessment of women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria” for December 2019 period released yesterday, September 28, 2020, financial exclusion stands at 36 percent for women while it stood at 24 percent for men.

However, despite the decline in the financial exclusion of women, the report noted that financial inclusion has not really improved and the gap between women and men has grown due to COVID-19 and insecurities in the North part of the country.

Also, the report noted that the financial inclusion gap between women and men in Nigeria stood at 20 to 30, placing the nation below its peers.

The report reads in part, “Not surprisingly, financial exclusion stands at 36 per cent for women and 24 per cent for men.

“The relative gender gap related to financial inclusion is ~20-30 per cent, placing Nigeria below its peers.

“Since 2012, although women’s exclusion has dropped, the gender gap has grown, revealing that men’s inclusion has improved more rapidly than women’s.

“The National Financial Inclusion Strategy was launched in 2012 to reduce financial exclusion to 20 per cent of the adult population.

“However, according to the revised NFIS, Nigeria is not on track to achieve its 2020 targets.”

The report added that the progress towards a broad-based financial inclusion had been slowed down enormously by a series of unforeseen socioeconomic factors, the security situation in Northern Nigeria, COVID-19 and slow adoption of digital financial services.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

Access Bank South Africa Begins Operation

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Access Bank South Africa- Investors King

Following Access Bank Acquisition of African Banking Corporation (BancABC Mozambique), Access Bank South Africa officially opened its door for business yesterday.

The bank described the development as another step in engraving Access Bank Plc into the continent’s history.

Noting the enthusiasm of all parties leading up to this day, Access Bank CEO, Herbert Wigwe said the SADC region represents the strongest economy on the African continent.

“This means Access Bank SA is firmly seated in one of the principal geographical areas apart from Nigeria, in terms of the size of the economy, and unlocks the gateway to the entire Southern African region,” he was quoted to have said in a statement.

Wigwe highlighted Access Bank’s solid presence in Zambia too, saying the opening of the South African subsidiary cements the Bank’s commitment to sub-Saharan Africa as a portal for exceptional banking opportunities across the continent.

Building on the organisation’s vision of delivering a robust banking operation that connects key African markets, the CEO of Access Bank SA, Bennie van Rooy, described the development as, “an exciting event for the South African banking industry,” as well as the provision of sustainable support to existing customers while appealing to new clients with a business presence across Africa.

“As part of the robust Access Bank family, the South African operations look forward to contributing meaningfully to the achievements and ambitions of the Group. In offering a full suite of financial service products to a market we understand in-depth, Access Bank SA is delighted to grow the family footprint,” he added.

Continuing, Wigwe said the Group would continue to focus on building relationships, as a partner in both businesses and in communities it serves.

“It’s vital that our banking solutions give clients the advantage they need to grow sustainably, with access to smart solutions that help them reach greater goals,” he added.

With its transactional account and online banking, commercial and asset finance, offshore investments and Forex requirements or deposit solutions, Access Bank puts the power of choice in clients’ hands.

“Partnerships with all our clients mean power for them to achieve their aspirations, while Access Bank’s growth brings greater advantages in the financial sector. Like Bennie, I am excited to be on this path with the knowledge and experience of the continent that we share,” said Wigwe.

“We look forward to the opportunities that present themselves with opening doors for individuals and businesses, and growing possibilities as we go.”

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Banking Sector

Stanbic IBTC’s Upgraded USSD Platform Offers “Bigger And Better” Functionalities

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Stanbic IBTC - investorsking.com

Stanbic IBTC Bank, a member of Standard Bank Group, has upgraded its USSD platform with innovative features and capabilities to improve customer experience.

The upgraded USSD banking platform tagged “bigger and better” will enable customers to make seamless transactions continually.

Some of the new features on the upgraded platform include the bill payment gateway for billers such as the DISCO companies, which will enable customers to pay their electricity bills without stress; auto-airtime top-up, which allows customers to set up a mandate for airtime top-up whenever their balance drops below a set benchmark; as well as direct data top-up.

Speaking on the rationale behind the USSD platform upgrade, Remy Osuagwu, Executive Director, Personal and Business Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, said, “We are dedicated to meeting the banking needs of our customers. Improving customers’ experiences at every touchpoint with the brand is critical. We are optimistic that the new features added to our USSD platform will indeed give our customers a bigger and better banking experience.”

Offering customers easy, fast and secure financial transactions, the Stanbic IBTC USSD platform works on any mobile phone. It can be used to purchase airtime, transfer funds, check account balance, request account statements, make bills payment, view transaction history, link a debit card to a wallet and more.

To onboard, customers should dial *909*11*1# to register and enter the last four (4) digits of their debit cards to create an authentication PIN that will be used to approve transactions anytime and anywhere. Existing users on the platform have access to the upgraded functionalities by just dialing *909# and following the prompt.

Remy Osuagwu assured the Bank’s esteemed customers of the organisation’s commitment to continually develop digital banking solutions to meet their needs as they evolve.

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Finance

ITFC Signs a US$ 250 Million Framework Agreement to Support The Gambia

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The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, has signed a new 5-Year Framework Agreement in favour of the Government of The Gambia that target to provide up to US$ 50 million to the country on an annual basis.

The agreement, signed with H.E. Mambury Njie, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs (IsDB Governor), is a part of the Corporation’s ongoing efforts to combat the economic repercussions from COVID-19 and strengthen key economic sectors in member countries.

This US$250 million Framework Agreement will provide pre-export financing for major cash crops such as groundnuts and cashew nuts, the main agricultural produce in a sector that is a major employer of the country’s workforce. In addition, this agreement will also facilitate the import of essential agriculture inputs such as fertilizer.

In the energy sector, the financing will enable imports of key commodities such as refined petroleum, which is crucial to generate electricity in the country. Other sectors that will benefit from the five-year framework agreement include the healthcare sector through the import of medicines and health equipment, and the private sector through financing facilities to local banks and financial institutions aimed at boosting local SMEs.

Technical assistance for trade development aimed at building capacity and promoting information exchange and knowledge dissemination are other areas covered in the agreement.

H.E. Mambury Njie, The Gambia’s Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs thanked ITFC on behalf of the Government for its continued support, highlighting that this framework agreement would support national development goals to drive economic diversification and job creation across key growth sectors, whist facilitating trade and investment flows within the country, as well as globally through the country’s participation in agriculture value chains.

Reiterating ITFC’s commitment to supporting its member countries, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC CEO, said: “The five-year framework agreement will make way for further cooperation with the Government of The Gambia across key economic sectors whilst fostering greater collaboration with the country’s budding private sector to drive SME growth. In addition to crucial import-export financing, the agreement also has provisions to help develop the country into a stronger trading nation through enhanced capacity development and knowledge transfer programs.”

Since inception in 2008, ITFC has approved a total of US$607 million in favor of The Gambia. From energy to employment through agriculture, it reaffirms ITFC’s proven strategy of investing in key sectors of its member countries and thus contributing towards the development of the priority industries.

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