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CBN, Bill Gates partner to deepen financial inclusion in economy

*The Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, set to collaborate to explore innovative solutions for driving access to finance, and resolve identified challenges in attaining the desired level of financial inclusion in the West African country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have finalised arrangements for collaboration on accelerating financial inclusion in the country’s payments ecosystem.

The CBN stated the two groups recently, held strategic discussions on how to deepen collaboration on financial inclusion in Nigeria.

Mr Folashodun Shonubi, Acting Governor of CBN, in company with Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability (FSS), at the discussions, restated the commitment of the banking sector regulator to continually partner with Mr. Bill Gates-led BMGF, and other development partners.

Shonubi, in a statement, noted that such a partnership would be to explore innovative solutions for driving access to finance.

The Acting CBN Governor also stated 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, urged a greater partnership between the Bank and the BMGF.

The CBN further hinted that the BMGF had supported financial inclusion in Nigeria since 2012.

The statement further said: “It 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), and the development of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, in 2012, and a revision in 2018.”

According to the banking regulator, “it has also brought about research into financial exclusion, scoping of digital financial services in Nigeria, and many more activities that help accelerate access to financial services.”

Speaking on the collaboration, Mr. Gates, Co-founder of BMGF, also highlighted the foundation’s focus areas for continued engagement in Nigeria to include health, agriculture and financial services.

The American foremost  businessman, philanthropist and Microsoft Chief, expressed satisfaction that support from his organisation is catalysing developmental action in Nigeria.

Gates, however, noted that there are still challenges and gaps in the ecosystem.

He expressed optimism that Nigeria would witness better outcomes, given the new economic and monetary policies currently in place.

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