Nigeria Confronts a Challenging Financial Inclusion Gender Gap: A Case Study of Policy Change to Support Women's Financial Inclusion
This report presents evidence that policy measures to increase women's financial inclusion need to be country-specific, based on each country’s gender gap and specific challenges and opportunities. To eliminate the persistent gender gap and expand access to financial services for both women and men, policies should be adapted and integrated in national financial inclusion strategies and other policy initiatives.
This case study was developed to examine the experience of Nigeria, where there are promising approaches to gender-focused financial inclusion policies. According to Global Findex data, Nigeria has made progress in increasing the percentage of women who have access to an account in a financial institution. However, the gender gap has increased significantly in the last three years, from 7.3% to 20.7%. With banks perceived as less accessible to women, the expansion of mobile financial services is seen as a particularly valuable opportunity to foster financial inclusion for women.
Although Nigeria has challenges—a vast population, geopolitical divisions and social norms that constrict women’s activities—it has seen meaningful policy change under the 2012 National Financial Inclusion Strategy (“the Strategy”). An explicit focus on women was undertaken this year, with a Special Interventions Working Group of the Technical Committee implementing the National Financial Inclusion Strategy.