Financial Inclusion In Nigeria Grew To 45 Percent In 2021 – World Bank

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According to a report by the World Bank titled “The Global Findex Database 2021: Financial Inclusion, Digital Payments, and Resilience In The Age Of COVID-19,” the international body stated that financial inclusion in Nigeria grew to 45 percent in 2021. In other words, the amount of Nigerians that have accounts at regulated institutions such as commercial banks, microfinance banks, fintechs, mobile money providers, etc., went up to 45 percent from a previous mark of 16 percent.

According to this same report, the total account ownership in developing economies grew by 30 percent, i.e., from 42 percent recorded ten years ago in 2011 to 71 percent in 2021. “From 2017 to 2021, the average rate of account ownership in developing economies increased by 8 percentage points, from 63 percent to 71 percent,” the World Bank said adding that “Mobile money is driving growth in account ownership, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 33 percent of adults have a mobile money account.” Global account ownership, on the other hand, grew by 50 percent, from 2011 to 76 percent in 2021.

“Individual economies saw different rates of growth over the past decade. Between 2011 and 2021, economies such as Peru, South Africa, and Uganda drove up the average with account ownership increases of 25 percentage points or more,” the bank said adding that “Other economies saw much smaller increases over longer periods. Pakistan, for example, grew by just 10 percentage points over the past decade, from 10 percent in 2011 to 21 percent in 2021. The Arab Republic of Egypt and Nigeria increased ownership by 18 percentage points and 16 percentage points, respectively—from 10 percent to 27 percent in Egypt, and from 30 percent to 45 percent in Nigeria.”

The bank emphasized the importance of having an account, saying that it is an important indicator for financial inclusion as it allows individuals to gain access to growth-promoting financial services.

“In some regions, the spread of mobile money accounts has created new opportunities to better serve women, poor people, and other groups who traditionally have been excluded from the formal financial system. Indeed, there are some early signs that mobile money accounts may be helping to close the gender gap,” the bank said emphasizing that mobile money had a huge role to play in the growth of account ownership in Nigeria and many other sub-Saharan African countries. “In Sub-Saharan Africa in 2021, 55 percent of adults had an account, including 33 percent of adults who had a mobile money account—the largest share of any region in the world and more than three times larger than the 10% global average of mobile money account ownership,” it wrote.

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