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64 million Nigerians do not have bank accounts 



Nigeria remains one of the top seven countries with a sizeable part of the population unbanked, according to a recent Work Bank report.

The report titled “The Global Findex Database 2021: Financial Inclusion, Digital Payments, and Resilience in the Age of COVID-19” revealed that about 64 million of its nearly 200 million people still do not have an account with a financial institution or mobile money platform.

The report also showed that of the world’s 1.4 billion unbanked population, over half or 740 million comes from seven economies, including Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

The report also pointed out that the number of Nigerians with accounts at regulated institutions such as a bank, credit union, microfinance institution, post office, or mobile money service provider increased by 16 per cent to 45 per cent in 2021. Similarly, the report found that global account ownership increased by 50 per cent from 51 per cent in 2011 to 76 per cent in 2021. 

According to the report, information on the gender gap showed that the use of digital payments by account owners varied substantially across developing economies. Nigeria and Bangladesh, for example, have large gender gaps in the use of digital payments, at 16 percentage points and 15 percentage points, respectively, on top of a gender gap in account ownership of about 20 percentage points. However, gender gaps have decreased despite the lack of growth in overall account ownership.

Another important insight from the report showed that mobile money has become an important enabler of financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa—especially for women—as a driver of account ownership and account usage through mobile payments, saving, and borrowing.

According to the report, in 2021, about three in four mobile account owners in Sub-Saharan Africa used their mobile money accounts to make or receive at least one payment that was not person-to-person. 

The report also noted that mobile money accounts have also become an important method to save in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 15 per cent of adults—and 39 per cent of mobile money account holders—used one to save—the same share that used a formal account at a bank or other financial institution. Seven per cent of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa also borrowed using their mobile money accounts.

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