Queen Maxima Willem-Alexander, the United Nations Special Advocate for Financial Inclusion, has assured the Central Bank of Nigeria of the UN’s support to reduce the number of excluded persons from 41.6% to at least 20% by the year 2020. This took place when Queen Maxima, Queen of the Netherlands, visited Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor with regard to the progress of financial inclusion.
Emefiele, admitted that while the Central Bank had been able to successfully reduce the population of the financially excluded from 46.3% to 41.6% within six years (2010-2016), assistance from the UN will aid in meeting the 20% target. The financial inclusion strategy launched 2012, has a target of at least 20% exclusion rate by 2020.
Queen Maxima, commending the Central Bank of Nigeria said;
“You have tried very hard to achieve our targets. We are more than prepared to support Nigeria in this process with assistance and knowledge from abroad of our experiences. We are looking at what has worked, what has not worked and we are committed to pushing the private sector forward in this endeavor.” she further stressed the importance of the strategy “I don think I need to tell of how important financial inclusion is to the development and to reducing inequality and the spill-over effects this could have on the African continent.”
Emefiele assured that programs have been initiated to further aid in achieving the target by 2020. Such programs include;
- Know Your Customer (KYC) framework
- National collateral registry and credit bureau
- Agent banking framework
- Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) development and others.
The visit from Queen Maxima could not have come at a better time as Emefiele affirmed that it demonstrated the UNs’ unwavering support for the cause. Queen Maxima was also urged by the chairman of Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), Shehu Yahaya, to push for increased access to finance (especially MSMEs). He assures in return that this will further enhance financial inclusion in the economy. This conversation held while she visited the Development Bank of Nigeria to access its activities with regards to how they affect the provision of loans to MSMEs.
The Netherland queen held an ‘on the spot’ assessment of the Mobile Money Agent. The Mobile Money Agent is operated by MTN Mobile Money alongside Diamond Bank Plc. Hasfat Iyabo, a yam trader and mobile money operation offered the yam (which she disclosed King Willem-Alexander loves). The queen insisted on paying as a means to support and encourage the yam trader. She stood watch until the #500 she insisted on paying for the yam was deposited and credited to the woman’s Mobile Money Agent deposit account. This of course shows how committed the queen and the UNs is to realize the financial inclusion target.