The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have held strategic discussions in Abuja on how to deepen collaboration on financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Speaking during the meeting on June 22, 2023, the Bank’s Acting Governor, Mr. Folashodun Shonubi, reiterated the commitment of the CBN to continually partner with BMGF and other development partners to explore innovative solutions for driving access to finance.
Mr. Shonubi, who was accompanied by the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability (FSS), Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, disclosed 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 Bank and the BMGF.
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.
Mr. Gates expressed satisfaction that support from his organization was catalyzing developmental action in Nigeria. While nothing that there were still challenges and gaps, he expressed optimism that the country would witness better outcomes given the new economic and monetary policies currently in place in Nigeria.
The BMGF has supported financial inclusion in Nigeria since 2012 and 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, the development of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy in 2012 and a revision in 2018, research into financial exclusion, scoping of digital financial services in Nigeria, and many more activities that help accelerate access to financial services.
While Mr. Gates was accompanied by the duo of Christopher Elias, President, Global Development, BMGF; and Abi Jagun, Senior Programme Officer, BMGF, other members on the CBN team were Mr. Philip Yila Yusuf, Director Development Finance; and Dr. Paul Oluikpe, Head Financial Inclusion.