By Elizabeth Adegbesan
A study jointly undertaken by Genesis Analytics and Commissioned by the Gender Centre of Excellence in close collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has revealed that 25 million adult Nigerian women are unbanked and over 16 million rural women rely exclusively on informal financial services.
The study noted that a five percent gender gap still exists in Bank Verification Number, BVN, enrolment and a 10 percent gender gap in enrolment rates.
The study also showed that the value of loans women borrow from formal institutions declines after they reach the age of 45.
The report stated: "Unlike comparator countries in Africa, Nigeria's gender gap is widening. Countries such as Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda are gradually achieving gender parity in financial inclusion. The relative gender gap for Nigeria, on the other hand, stands at eight percent, placing Nigeria below its peers.
"In addition to commercial banks, women rely on other formal institutions for the provision of financial services.
"The EFInA A2F survey indicates that other formal institutions account for 6 percent and informal Financial Service Providers (FSPs) account for 15 percent of women's banking status. Combined, this suggests an exclusion rate of 40 percent. Compared to the male exclusion rate of 32 percent, leaving a gender gap of eight percent.
"The value of loans borrowed from formal institutions by women decreases after they reach the age of 45. "Compared to men who continue to have loans of higher value as they age, women borrow less, which likely suggests that younger women are most likely to access larger, formal loans."