Mr. Rodger Voorhies Global Head, Financial Services for the Poor at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says that Nigeria remains the Foundation’s top priority on financial inclusion in Africa.
He hinted this at the Inaugural Digital Financial Inclusion Project hosted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) where the Letter of Understanding executed between the Federal Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
He says the Foundation’s wealth of experience in implementing digital financial Inclusion projects, globally known as the “Level One project” in eight countries would be brought to bear in supporting the Nigerian implementation.
Under the plan, the project will focus on increasing the level of Financial Inclusion in Nigeria and support the achievement of the 70% payments target by the year 2020. It also hopes to strengthen the payments system in order to accelerate the pace of digitalization in the country.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the apex bank stays commited to the achievement of the National Financial inclusion Strategy goals as a means of enhancing economic opportunities for Nigerians.
He underscores the sustained collaboration with the partner institutions on financial inclusion and charged them not to relent in their efforts.
Mrs. Anastasia M. Daniel-Nwaobia Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance adds that the project will support government’s drive for a more efficient and productive public-sector.
According to her, there is need to digitize critical sectors of the economy like agriculture to complement pioneering scheme like the e-Wallet initiative for farmers.
The Diagnostic study on financial inclusion in Nigeria conducted by McKinsey & Co, which is Technical Advisers, was presented at the meeting, with the key recommendation for pilot schemes to digitize Conditional Cash Transfer programmes and financial services for the agricultural sector.
A key highlight of the meeting was the formal inauguration of the Digital Financial Inclusion Project Steering Committee comprised of the troika with the Deputy Governor, Operations Directorate of CBN representing the interest of the apex bank; the Permanent Secretary representing the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Global Head, Financial Services for the Poor, representing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Head, Financial Inclusion Secretariat will serve as Secretary to the Committee.