25m adult women in Nigeria have no formal bank accounts

Edited by Damilola Adeleke

In Nigeria, a recent study conducted by Genesis Analytics in collaboration with the Gender Centre of Excellence and the Central Bank of Nigeria has revealed that approximately 25 million adult women in the country do not possess formal bank accounts. Furthermore, it was found that over 16 million rural women rely solely on informal financial services.

The study emphasized that a five percent gender gap remains in the enrolment for Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs), while there is a 10 percent gender gap in overall enrolment rates.

An interesting observation from the study is that the value of loans obtained by women from formal financial institutions decreases once they reach the age of 45. In contrast, men continue to have access to higher-value loans as they age. This discrepancy suggests that younger women are more likely to secure larger formal loans, while older women face limitations in borrowing from such institutions.

The report also highlighted the widening gender gap in financial inclusion in Nigeria compared to other African countries. Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda have made progress in achieving gender parity in financial inclusion, whereas Nigeria lags behind. Nigeria currently experiences an eight percent gender gap in financial inclusion, placing it below its counterparts.

Aside from commercial banks, women in Nigeria rely on other formal institutions and informal Financial Service Providers (FSPs) for financial services. Other formal institutions account for six percent of women’s banking status, while FSPs account for 15 percent. When combined, these figures indicate an exclusion rate of 40 percent among women. In comparison, the exclusion rate among men is 32 percent, highlighting an eight percent gender gap in financial inclusion.

The study sheds light on the disparities and challenges faced by Nigerian women in accessing formal financial services and highlights the need for targeted efforts to bridge the gender gap and promote greater financial inclusion for women across the country.

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