By Asmau Ahmad
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have finalised arrangements for collaboration on financial inclusion.
According to a statement from the apex bank, the two groups recently held strategic discussions on how to deepen collaboration on financial inclusion in Nigeria.
During the discussions, CBN’s Acting Governor, Mr Folashodun Shonubi, reportedly reiterated the commitment of the apex bank to continually partner with BMGF and other development partners.
Shonubi said that such partnership would be to explore innovative solutions for driving access to finance.
He said that though much progress had been made in various aspects of financial inclusion, some challenges still remained in attaining the desired level of financial inclusion in Nigeria.
He, therefore, called for greater partnership between the apex bank and the BMGF.
According to the CBN, the BMGF has supported financial inclusion in Nigeria since 2012.
“It has been a strategic partner of the CBN in driving innovation to reach excluded segments of Nigeria’s population with financial products and services.
“The partnership has brought about strategic initiatives such as the Nigeria Financial Services Maps, (a gateway for geospatial mapping of access points), and the development of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy in 2012 and a revision in 2018.
“It has also brought about research into financial exclusion, scoping of digital financial services in Nigeria, and many more activities that help accelerate access to financial services,” it said.
In his remarks, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr Bill Gates highlighted the foundation’s focus areas for continued engagement in Nigeria to include health, agriculture and financial services.
Gates expressed satisfaction that support from his organisation was catalysing developmental action in Nigeria.
He, however, noted that there were still challenges and gaps, and expressed optimism that Nigeria would witness better outcomes given the new economic and monetary policies currently in place.
The Acting CBN governor was accompanied to the discussions by the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability (FSS), Mrs Aishah Ahmad.