BY DAPO AKINTOYE
With the growing global focus and debate over gender-based discrimination across almost all levels of human interaction, forward-thinking leaders are clamoring for the needed change to close the gender gap. According to UN Women, over the past decade, 131 countries have passed laws to support gender equality.
However following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, some of these gains may have been lost, particularly with regards to the financial inclusion and economic empowerment of women. Several studies confirm the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women, pushing them out of both formal and informal employment, businesses and in some cases entirely from the financial system.
These are some of the thoughts that led to the development and launch of the Framework for Advancing Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in partnership with the Financial Inclusion Special Interventions Working Group (FISIWG), Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) and Women’s World Banking (WWB).
At the e-Launch of the Framework, which held recently, Mrs. Aishah N. Ahmad, Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, CBN presented a clearer picture on financial inclusion of women in Nigeria. “According to EFINA, the female financial exclusion rate was 40.9% in 2018 compared with 32.5% for men. This gap may have widened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic given women’s primary responsibility for caregiving, likelihood to be frontline health workers and their predominance in the informal sector which has been severely affected by the coronavirus induced-lock down”
She further stated that “the negative effects of the pandemic on women’s financial inclusion have manifested in the context of existing structural challenges which have kept women out of the financial system such as cultural norms, lower education and financial literacy levels, poverty, high cost of financial services, concentration of women in rural, subsistence farming and limited knowledge of financial institutions in serving the womens’ market.’’
‘These challenges call for bold, concerted and collaborative action on the part of regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders in the financial sector to implement strategies that will help change social attitudes, reduce structural barriers and economically empower women to advance their financial and economic inclusion over the long term.’’ She added.
Speaking further on why the CBN supported the development of the framework, Mrs Ahmad clarified that it was intended to complement existing CBN initiatives designed to expand access to finance for women which include the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF) – 60% of which was dedicated to women and women controlled businesses, – (thus far over 62% of the fund to had been granted to about 134,000 women), National Collateral Registry which expanded the types of collateral acceptable for loans to mention a few.
The Honorable Minister for Women Affairs, represented by Princess Joan Junmai Idonijie, giving the keynote address also echoed the thoughts that gender disparity in Nigeria is on the rise, ‘’Challenges that widen the gender-inclusion gap include; vulnerable state of women-owned businesses, the digital divide, limited awareness of government intervention programs, and pressures of domestic responsibilities.’’ She added.
Following the keynote was the formal launch of the framework, highlights of which included a categorization of the barriers to female financial inclusion related to demand, supply, financial & technical infrastructure and legal and regulatory factors. It further proposed eight (8) strategic imperatives for closing the gap such as measures to support account opening, financial and digital literacy, delivery of channels to serve women, gender disaggregated data, etc. The full report is available on the CBN website.
Following the formal launch were two technical sessions. The first was facilitated by Ashley Immanuel, Ag. CEO of EFINA. Spotlighting some of the typical characteristics of financially excluded women in Nigeria, she stated that a Nigerian woman was more likely to be financially excluded if she lived in northern Nigeria, did not own a mobile phone, was unmarried or in the youngest or oldest age group.
The second technical session was a panel discussion moderated by Ade Ashaye, Executive Vice President, WWB. Panelists included Mrs. Ambah Hamda, MD/CEO FSDH Merchant Bank/ Chairperson, Bankers Committee subcommittee on Economic Development sustainability and Gender; Mrs. Ronke Kuye, MD/CEO, Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF), Mrs. Oladoyin Olawaiye Component lead, SEDIN Programme, GIZ and Dr. Ijeoma Nwagwu, Faculty Member/SIDFS gender lead, Lagos Business School. Several themes were discussed including strategies for entrenching gender disaggregated reporting at banks and other financial institutions, how to improve financial and digital literacy in rural areas, amongst others.
In her closing remarks, Mrs Ahmad urged all stakeholders to carefully review and implement the 8 strategic imperatives presented within the framework; stating that focused implementation and collaboration amongst financial institutions, policy makers, regulators, development institutions and the public was required not only to close the gender gap in financial inclusion, but to ensure a safe, accessible and affordable financial system for all excluded Nigerians.
The gender gap in Nigeria represents a major issue to be resolved if the country is to achieve the targets it set in its National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS).
Dapo Akintoye a marketing consultant writes in from Lagos
Independence Day, #EndSARS, Ondo Election Results Top Nigeria’s October Search Trends
A milestone anniversary, calls to shut down an allegedly brutal police department, and state election results were among the top trending Google searches in Nigeria during October. These searches partially crossed over into the most asked questions, which concerned a leading activist, the whereabouts of the president, and the winner of Big Brother Nigeria.
On 1 October, Nigeria celebrated the 60th anniversary of its independence from Great Britain. What would ideally have been a day of celebration instead turned into a day of protest across the country’s major cities as people expressed their anger over corruption and increases to petrol and electricity prices. Nigeria Independence Day was, nonetheless, the top search for the month.
Protests continued throughout the month as the #EndSARS campaign gained momentum. The campaign called for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian Police. After SARS was disbanded, protests have continued over police brutality and other issues. As the protests dominated news headlines, online interest grew. As a result, “end sars” was the second most searched term for the month.
Staying with politics, “ondo election result” was the third most popular term for the month. The poll saw Oluwarotimi Akeredolu reelected as governor of Ondo state. Despite heavy criticism from opposition parties, Akeredolu won by a significant margin.
Other topics trending in October included actress Eniola Badmus, who was falsely rumoured to have been shot during the #EndSARS protests; activist Aisha Yesufu, who has been at the centre of the protests; and rapper Lil Frosh, who was arrested in early October for the alleged assault on his girlfriend Gift Camille.
These were the top 10 searches for the month:
1. Nigeria Independence Day
2. End sars
3. Ondo election result
4. Eniola Badmus
5. Aisha Yesufu
6. Lil Frosh
8. Room 306
9. Boyfriend day
10. Soro soke / soro soke meaning
Yesefu also featured among the most asked questions for the month, topping the list. Nigerians were also keen to know where President Muhammadu Buhari was. The national leader, who is frequently overseas for medical treatment, waited days before addressing Nigerians on the protest, before finally urging citizens to spurn the protestors’ efforts.
It wasn’t all serious politics, however. Nigerians also took to Google to find out who the winner of BBN 2020 was, as well as to ask practical questions around tracking stolen cellphones and to find out who Anonymous is.
Top ten trending questions for October 2020:
- Who is Aisha Yesufu?
- Where is Buhari now?
- Who is the winner of BBN 2020?
- Where is Tinubu now?
- How to track a stolen phone?
- Who is Anonymous?
- Who is Tompolo?
- How to prepare jollof rice?
- Who is leading in Ondo election?
- Who is DJ Switch?
Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what Nigerians have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year, worldwide. Live search data is available on the Google Nigeria Trends site.
Globus Bank Opens Three New Branches in Lagos
L-R: Modupe Ajayi, Branch Manager Lekki, Globus Bank; Elias Igbinakenzua, Managing Director/CEO Globus Bank; Ekundayo Yakubu, Chief Financial Officer Globus Bank and Titus Ebare, Chief Risk Officer, Globus Bank at the launch of the Globus Bank Lekki Branch recently.
Nigeria’s “phygital” bank, Globus Bank Limited, celebrates 2020 Customer Service Week with a special gift to Lagos customers.
The bank opened 3 new branches at the following locations – Plot 17, Admiralty Way, Lekki; Plot 2B, Aromire Street, Allen Avenue, Ikeja and Plot 17, Warehouse Road, Apapa, Lagos.
The bank is poised to strategically branch out in a manner that aligns with its vision to offer the banking public a viable alternative that is designed to provide ultimate and endearing customer experience.
Globus Bank commenced operations on November 6, 2019, and in accordance with their service promise, they have continued to roll out branches in very strategic locations across the country. These three new branches in one week demonstrate their commitment to match words with action.
To serve the retail customers, the Bank is currently active on USSD code (*989#) and has a mobile banking application (Globus Mobile), that is seamless and provide end-to-end solution for retail customers. Accounts are fully opened in 2 minutes without the need to physically visit any branch.
The transfer service on Globus Mobile is the most enjoyable in the industry. Individuals can switch between personal and corporate accounts on Globus Mobile and do transactions seamlessly, including bulk payments. With Globus Mobile, your corporate account is on your palm. This is a robust solution for individuals and MSMEs.
For key corporate customers, the bank has a robust Corporate Internet Banking Solution that has been adjudged by customers as one of the best in the industry.
Whilst rapidly gaining market share in the corporate segment, the bank is maintaining its focus on enhancing financial inclusion by encouraging the unbanked through innovative digital platforms and incentives. There are plans to show optimal physical presence in key retail centres aimed at strengthening financial inclusion and supporting MSMEs.
ATCON To Hold AGM, Elect New Executives November 12
The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has concluded plans to hold its 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM), during which it would also elect new executives.
The AGM, which was earlier scheduled to hold in earlier this year was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a statement from the association’s executive secretary, Mr. Ajibola Olude, the meeting will now hold on November 12, 2020, in Lagos.
ATCON noted that the tenure of the National Executive Council 2018 – 2020 which would have ended in May 2020 was extended to forestall the leadership vacuum that would have occurred.
“The Association upholds a culture of corporate governance and is set to have another election that would usher in a new set of National Executive Council that would direct the Association for the next two years.
“As part of upholding the principle of transparency in the conduct of the forthcoming election into various positions in the National Executive Council of the Association, we are pleased to officially announce to all the CEOs and Directors of all our qualified member companies to take an active part in the in Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Election into the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Association,” ATCON said in the statement.
Highlighting the eligibility criteria for voting, ATCON said, in accordance with the association’s constitution, only financially active members would be allowed to vote and be voted for at the elections
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