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Leveraging Mobile Money To Drive Financial Inclusion Of Women



Leveraging Mobile Money To Drive Financial Inclusion Of Women

By Rosemary Kimaku, Business Development Manager, Mobile Financial Services at Ericsson, and Mohit Bhargava, Mobile Money Marketing Lead

The World Bank’s Global Findex Database 2021 shows that the world has made considerable progress toward female financial inclusion in the last 10 years. The gender gap in formal financial account ownership across developing countries has fallen from 9% to 6%, highlighting that women are getting closer to financial equality.

Growth in account ownership by women is much faster than men and 68% of adult women in developing countries are now included in formal financial systems. In many developing countries, this growth in account ownership amongst women is mainly driven by mobile money.

Mobile money accounts have a simple registration process that requires less documentation and better affordability with zero fees and no minimum balance requirements. Consequently, in many developing countries mobile money services have become a leading alternative to banking systems. Data from Global Findex and FinScope studies corroborates this with reports showing that in at least 20 low- and middle-income countries more women have mobile money accounts than bank accounts. In 10 of these 20 countries, the leading mobile money service is powered by Ericsson Wallet Platform, our global fintech platform. In three of these countries, Rwanda, Uganda, and Ghana, more than half of the adult female population has a mobile money account. Furthermore, in six of 10 countries, 30% to 40% of the female adult population has a mobile money account.

Unsurprisingly, in most of these countries, less than 20% of the female adult population has a bank account. The numbers indicate that in these countries mobile money has contributed substantially to increasing the financial inclusion of women.

Mobile money helps to narrow the gender gap in financial access in some countries. For example, in Liberia the gender gap in mobile money account ownership is 8 percentage points, compared to bank or financial accounts where it is 19 percentage points. In Uganda, Ghana, Cameroon, and Liberia, more women than men have only a mobile money account.  For example, in Ghana 31% of women have only a mobile money account compared to 27% of men.

Service providers encourage the adoption of mobile money amongst women by offering services focused on women. Examples include grant distribution for girls’ education into their mother’s mobile money account, insurance and monetary support for healthcare, subsidy disbursement to women for shifting to clean cooking fuels, micro-loans for women entrepreneurs running small and medium-sized businesses, and many more. Mobile money also digitizes traditional financial tools mainly used by women like savings clubs, burial societies, and village savings and loans associations (VSLAs) making them more secure, transparent, and easy to use. In some countries, female merchants make up a considerable part of local markets. Mobile money enables these low-income merchants to go digital, accept mobile payments, and modernize their businesses at low-cost.

There are a few other steps required to increase mobile money adoption by women:

  • All stakeholders including governments, NGOs, regulators, industry bodies, and mobile money providers should work collectively to roll out digital and financial literacy programs for women and create more awareness about the benefits and use of mobile money services.
  • Raise the participation of women in the entire mobile money ecosystem. Mobile money providers should increase the proportion of female mobile money agents, enable more female merchants to accept mobile money, feature women in mobile money marketing campaigns, and have more female employees at all levels of mobile money organizations from technology to leadership roles. This will create a more female-focused and female-friendly environment and generate more trust and comfort amongst women consumers.
  • Governments and mobile money providers should enable a collection of more detailed gender-disaggregated data. High-quality gender-disaggregated data can be a very useful tool to develop baseline targets, policies, and programs to reduce the gender gap in financial inclusion.

It is encouraging to see that mobile money enables equal access to financial services and works towards increasing the financial inclusion of women in many countries. However, this is just the beginning, and we need to increase the efforts multifold to fully close the gender gap in financial access. Ericsson Wallet Platform along with the mobile financial services it powers will continue focusing on leveraging and enhancing mobile money as a tool to drive full financial inclusion for women.


Money Market

Naira Devaluation’s Fake News, Says CBN



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has debunked a report by a national daily that it has devalued the naira to N631 per dollar at the Importers and Exporters (I&E) window.

A top official of the apex bank, who told this medium that the report is completely false, warned that such reports could have serious adverse consequences for the economy.

According to the top official, the CBN has not changed its strategy of allowing a gradual convergence of the parallel and official market exchange rates.

“The report is not true. The CBN has not devalued the naira. The exchange rate of the naira on the FMDQ website as at yesterday was N464.67 per dollar. The authors of the report may have their own agenda, but the CBN’s plan is that the best approach is to allow for a gradual convergence of all the rates.”

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Money Market

Customers Laud Polaris Bank Exclusive Banking Product



Polaris Bank Commences Phase IV Breast Cancer Screening Exercise For Staff, Customers

… Commend Partnerships and bundled investment initiatives

By Moninuola Sulaiman

Nigeria’s leading Retail Bank, Polaris Bank has announced the launch of its exclusive banking product aimed at serving its High Net-worth Individuals (HNIs) seeking innovative investment options in challenging economic times.

The unveiling which took place in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday was attended by esteemed guests, industry experts, and corporate customers from across the country.

The exclusive banking proposition, designed to guide HNIs towards high-yield investment opportunities, received an overwhelmingly positive response from customers present at the launch with most of them offering their testimonials, and endorsements, to the value offered by the products.

A customer and Founding Partner of a Lagos-based Law Firm at the event Mrs. Damilola Adegbenro, noted, “Polaris Bank has provided me with personalized guidance and access to exclusive investment options, helping me navigate the complex financial landscape. I highly recommend the bank’s exclusive banking proposition.”

Another customer, Alhaji Dahiru Mustapha, a large-scale farmer, praised the bank’s commitment to customer satisfaction and its holistic approach to banking.

“What sets Polaris Bank apart is their attention to detail and the bank’s understanding of the diverse needs of HNIs. Not only has the bank guided me towards high-yield investment options, but its partnerships with leading brands in complementary services have also helped me to enjoy exclusive lifestyle privileges.

At the launch, experts from Partner brands across sectors discussed robust and available wealth management windows for HNIs and guests, providing attendees with valuable insights and expert advice. Some of the partners include MIXTA Africa represented by Andrea Cameron-Cole who spoke about the immense real estate investment vehicles available in Nigeria and across Africa; Toyin Deinde, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Tangerine Africa spoke about available world-class health insurance HNIs could subscribe and benefit from being Polaris Bank’s Exclusive Banking customers.

A representative of VTA Global Services introduced to the guests the Citizenship by Investment service wherein interested enrollees and their dependents access Caribbean Passports that grant them easy mobility and passage to over 104 countries globally. Abiona Babarinde, General Manager at Coscharis Motors availed guests and HNIs present, the latest top-range automobiles that could be acquired with facilities made available under the Polaris Exclusive proposition.

“The discounts and privileges offered by Polaris Bank truly reflect the bank’s understanding of our needs said Mr. Osinachi Nwachukwu, a prominent player and CEO of an estate company. “Their partnerships have added immense value to my banking relationship. I am thrilled to have access to such exclusive privileges.”

Earlier in the day, Mr. Segun Opeke Executive Director who represented Polaris Bank’s Managing Director/CEO, welcomed guests and HNIs, explaining, “Polaris Bank has partnered with leading brands to provide discounts and privileges across a range of lifestyle services and experiences. From luxury travel to fine dining, our customers, especially HNIs, can now enjoy the perks of their hard-earned success with our carefully curated offerings.”

Group Head of Products & Market Development, Adebimpe Ihekuna, expressed appreciation to the customers stating, “The positive feedback received serves as a motivating force to further innovate and deliver exceptional solutions in a rapidly changing financial landscape.” She further admonished customers to use the Bank’s VULTe digital platform as a one-stop shop to access the exclusive services offered by the Bank.

Polaris Bank was adjudged Digital Bank of the Year in 2021 and 2022 in BusinessDay’s Banks And Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards. It also emerged as the best MSME Bank because of its ability to use technology to enable bottom-up support to the MSME sector.

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Money Market

Sterling Bank Declares Bounty At 61st AGM



Sterling Bank Declares Bounty At 61st AGM

The shareholders of one of Africa’s fastest-growing companies, Sterling Bank, have commended the board of directors, executive management, and staff of the bank on its remarkable financial performance for the 2022 year, resulting in a recommendation of dividends of 15 kobo per ordinary share; a fifty percent increase from that paid in 2021.


The shareholders gave this commendation at the 61st annual general meeting of the bank held in Lagos on Wednesday.


Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Rilwan Hamza, one of the shareholders, commended the board members and staff of the bank for the wonderful financial performance while another shareholder, Mr. Boniface Okezie, expressed delight at the level of transparency displayed by the board and commended them for the improved dividend payout.


The shareholders urged the board to make the most of the transition into a financial holdings company and establish more subsidiaries that will drive even more growth and increase shareholder value.


The bank’s strong performance for the 2022 financial year was derived from growth in its assets base and customers’ deposits by 14.4 percent and 9.8 percent respectively. This is despite strong economic headwinds experienced by the Nigerian economy in the year under review.


Addressing shareholders of the bank at the first meeting as a limited liability company, following its ongoing transformation into a holding company structure, Chairman of the bank; Mr. Asue Ighodalo remarked, “Despite the challenges during 2022, our performance reflected our resilience and determination to deliver optimal value for our shareholders. We are pleased that we closed the year on a good note.”


Mr. Ighodalo said the bank grew profit before tax to N 20.8 billion, representing a 29 percent year-on-year increase from N 16.1 billion recorded in 2021, and a 28.5 percent growth in profit after taxes (PAT) to achieve the sum of N19.3 billion for 2022.


He said the PAT growth was driven by an N18.6 billion improvement in net operating income amidst heightened inflationary pressure and regulatory policies, adding that the gross earnings grew by 16.6 percent to N175.1 billion compared to N150.2 billion reported in 2021.

Sterling Bank Declares Bounty At 61st AGM

Left-Right: Executive Director, Commercial & Institutional Banking, Tunde Adeola, Non-Executive Director, Olaitan Kajero, Chief Executive, Abubakar Suleiman, Chairman of Board, Asue Ighodalo, Company Secretary, Temitayo Adegoke, Non-Executive Director, Tunji Mayaki, Executive Director of Operations, Raheem Owodeyi, all of Sterling Bank at the 61st AGM

On the business outlook for the year, the Chairman noted that “We remain very optimistic about our bank’s future and are devoted to effectively transforming our business to deliver optimal performance, and significantly offer superior services to millions of Nigerians.


“We are steadfast in our commitment to lead with best-in-class customer experience, establish a work environment that helps our employees became the best versions of themselves, become even more socially responsible as an institution, and create immense value for our shareholders.”


The Chairman said, “Our transformation into a holding company structure will allow shareholders and customers to maintain continued exposure to the bank’s existing lines of business and gain exposure to new business lines that will enhance shareholder value.”


“As we chart a new future for our organization, the expanded company structure will give us the renewed ambition to conquer new ground and solve more problems.”


The bank has maintained and increased momentum in 2023 with her citation as Africa’s Most Valuable Commercial Bank Brand for 2023 by the African Brand Magazine, in a poll conducted by GeoPoll and Kantar; two of the world’s leading brand research firms, a top three employer in Nigeria by LinkedIn in the social network’s annual Top 25 List, and most recently, one of the top 100 fastest growing companies in Africa by the prestigious Financial Times.


Renowned for its now famous HEART of Sterling strategy; which focuses major investments in the Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy, and Transportation sectors of the Nigerian economy, its irreverent brand voice, and enviable talent management practices, the lender recently completed a major milestone towards the completion of its transformation into a financial holdings company with the relisting of its shares on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX).

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