Researchers at Lagos Business School in Nigeria have begun a project to study barriers that exclude many low-income Nigerians from using banks and other financial service providers. Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the project will develop sustainable digital financial solutions and government policies for "unbanked” Nigerians—especially those among the rural poor.
The project also will include a student case competition focused on digital financial services. The project will support the government’s plan to improve the percentage of Nigerians served by financial institutions from 60 percent now to 80 percent by the year 2020—the equivalent of 18 million new financial services users.
“Financial inclusion is a catalyst for economic development and growth,” dean Enase Okonedo told Nigeria’s Premium Times. “Access to financial services can improve the lives of the poor.”