According to Aishah Ahmad, deputy governor at the Central Bank of Nigeria, the gender gap in financial inclusion in Nigeria is still present at 8%. (CBN).
At the Making Savings Work for Women event, which focused on “savings mobilization” and its crucial role in enabling women and men to achieve greater economic resilience, she revealed this.
In collaboration with the Lagos Business School, Women’s World Banking organized the event that took place last week.
“Savings mobilisation is seen as the entry-level into financial inclusion, which is why this event is highly important and valuable to the country’s financial inclusion agenda,” Ahmad said.
“Women save less than men. As at 2020, just 39 percent of women save in official financial institutions, compared to 51 percent of males.
“They are disproportionately represented in the informal economy, which may limit their bargaining power.” Women have less social safeguards and are more likely to be saddled with unpaid care and household chores, which forces them to leave the labour force.”
In addition, she claimed that when women have access to money, they invest it in their companies and families, and that having a bank account gives them a secure location to put money aside for emergencies.
According to the Nigerian banker and finance expert, research shows that women almost exclusively rely on informal options like voluntary savings and loan associations, money lenders, and trusted family and friends, unlike men who regularly use formal financial services.
“Women’s reliance on informal financial systems makes it difficult for them to obtain financial products that these informal providers do not provide, such as insurance and loans.” As a result, their financial options to make significant investments, improve their livelihood, or even diversify their income portfolio are limited.
“A key financial inclusion goal that can help address many of our economic issues is ensuring that women have access to formal financial services such as transactions, payments, savings, credit, and insurance.”
She praised Lagos Business School and Women’s World Banking for successfully implementing a savings mobilization strategy aimed at low-income women in Nigeria that was also implemented in India and Uganda.
“I commend the four financial services providers through which the solution was deployed; Accion Microfinance Bank, Fidelity Bank, Sterling Bank and Wema Bank, Ahmad said. “We look forward to more public and private partnerships as we work towards bridging the financial gender gap because winning is assured when we act together.”