The African Development Bank (AfDB)’s initiative, through the Africa digital financial inclusion facility (ADFI), and Y’ello digital financial services (YDFS), the fintech subsidiary of MTN Nigeria, have signed an agreement for a $500,000 grant initiative to enhance women’s access to financial services in Nigeria.
The grant from ADFI enables Y’ello digital financial services to acquire insight into exclusion as a result of the gender gap from a feasibility study and a human-centric design journey to attract more women into the agent business and plans are for YDFS to use this insight to expand its existing super-agent network in northern Nigeria.
In a statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday, the director of the financial sector development department at the African Development Bank Group, Stefan Nalletamby, said the funds will facilitate the deployment of women agents in the northern part of Nigeria, where due to security issues and cultural norms, women have been disproportionately excluded from accessing finance.
“It will also cover a feasibility study, human-centred design of a women-centric agent network and a pre-pilot to test the impact on the uptake of financial services by women in the Northern region,” Nalletamby added.
The director said AfDB, through ADFI, was delighted to support the project, furthering its work to improve the quality of life for people in Africa and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to reduce poverty and inequality, particularly relating to gender.
ADFI coordinator, Sheila Okiro, said the project was selected from nearly 340 proposals sent in response to ADFI’s call to support financial inclusion in Africa using digital technology.
In his response, the chief executive officer, Y’ello Digital Financial Services, Usoro Usoro, said: “We are committed to ensuring that every Nigerian can seamlessly access financial services for their personal and business needs.
“To achieve this, we constantly seek partnerships to support the financial inclusion strategy of the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria. We are truly excited about this partnership with AFDB and the possibilities for advancing financial inclusion in Nigeria, particularly for the traditionally excluded segment of women in Northern Nigeria.”