By Olusegun Oruame
Only 8% of Nigerians owned a mobile money accounts despite a significant number of financial services providers and large mobile phone subscriptions in excess of 145 million.
Nigeria’s population is put at nearly 190 million. There are four major mobile phone operators with subscribers’ base above 145 million. All operators join an army of internet service providers (ISPs) to drive Nigeria internet sub-sector. Dozens of licensed mobile money operators are in the market, and despite huge potential for growth, market remains narrow and unexplored, says a report by the Lagos Business School (LBS) on the country’s state of financial inclusion.
The report says 43% of Nigerians are financially excluded and only 49 % of Nigerians owned bank accounts while a mere 36% used informal financial tools.
Industry critics say there is still little or no awareness on mobile money and it appears mobile money operators are not keen in aggressively driving that market segment.
Even though the country has crossed a 50% mark in its financial inclusion target, there was still much to be done to get more citizens financially included, said LBS’ Academic Director, Dr Olayinka David-West. Financial service providers need to have a broader community engagement approach to driving financial inclusion and improve the subscriptions for both traditional and mobile banking.