The African Development Bank has inked a grant agreement with Y’ello Digital Financial Services (YDFS), a fintech subsidiary of MTN Nigeria, for research into the economic, religious, and societal factors preventing women in northern Nigeria from accessing finance.
According to a statement, the research will be supported through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility and will comprise a feasibility study, women-focused design, and testing, and will focus on both agents and customers to provide insights into women’s use of mobile money services (ADFI).
Despite being the continent’s largest economy, rural Nigerians still lack access to financial services, with 55 percent of the population living in poverty. With a ratio of 228.8 agents per 1,000 adults, mobile money adoption is now at 4%. Women’s access to money is said to be hampered by political instability and strict cultural norms in regions of Northern Nigeria. In addition, 80 percent of the region’s agents are men.
“Through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), the African Development Bank is delighted to support this project, furthering our work to improve the quality of life for Nigerians and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly as they relate to poverty and gender inclusion,” said Stefan Nalletamby, Director of Financial Sector Development at the African Development Bank.
“We are really enthusiastic about this relationship with the African Development Bank, and the prospects for promoting financial inclusion in Nigeria, particularly for the historically excluded section of women in Northern Nigeria,” Usoro Usoro, Chief Executive Officer, said on behalf of YDFS.