The African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed a grant agreement for $500,000 with Y’ello Digital Financial Services (YDFS), a fintech subsidiary of MTN Nigeria, to be used for a study into economic, religious, and social factors hampering access to finance for women in northern Nigeria.
The research, which includes a feasibility study, women-focused design and testing, will focus on both agents and customers to provide insights into women’s use of mobile money services.
It will be funded through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI).
Despite being the continent’s largest economy, 55% of rural Nigerians still lack access to financial services.
The rate of mobile money adoption currently stands at 4%, with an agent ratio of 228.8 agents per 1,000 adults. Political instability and conservative cultural norms in parts of Northern Nigeria are thought to present barriers to women’s access to finance. Additionally, 80% of agents in the region are men.
According to Director of Financial Sector Development at AfDB, Stefan Nallemtamby, the project is of the essence as it would deal with matters relating to poverty and gender inclusion.
“The African Development Bank, through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), is delighted to support this project, furthering our work to improve the quality of life for people in Nigeria and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly as relates to poverty, and gender inclusion.”
On behalf of YDFS, Usoro Usoro, Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are truly excited about this partnership with the African Development Bank, and the possibilities for advancing financial inclusion in Nigeria, particularly for the traditionally excluded segment of women in Northern Nigeria.”