The penetration of financial technologies in Nigeria stands at only 35%, with this proportion of the population able to access the technologies, according to the latest report.
According to NiBox, a firm that develops self-service kiosks that provide access to financial services in economies with heavy cash circulation, the 35% is the market cap for financial technology companies in Nigeria due to a lack of infrastructure resulting in a financial exclusion for the majority of the population in the country.
According to Brian Manuwuike, Chief Product Officer, NiBox:
“The problem with inclusion in Nigeria is not just a lack of infrastructure but also a relatively low smartphone penetration.
Currently, it is about 35 per cent, which means that, at best, most fintech products are capped at 35 per cent of the population.”
Nibox kiosks customers can access several financial services including:
Onboard various financial products
According to Brian, infrastructure barriers are responsible for the reliance of cash within the Nigerian economy where 9 out of 10 transactions are still settled in physical cash.
Moreover, in the latest 2022 State of Industry Report on Mobile Money by GSM, we can see that the lack of relevance is one of the main barriers to having a mobile money account in Nigeria:
Some of the reasons for lack of relevance to owning a mobile money account include:
Preference of cash
Existing alternatives for transferring money
People feeling they can share mobile money accounts with friends and family
Effective over-the-counter (OTC) solutions
People not having money
“Nigeria needs more investments in the offline infrastructure where consumers can access financial products/services with cash and without a smartphone. Offline distribution will drastically really drive financial inclusion.”
– Chief Product Officer, NiBox
Despite adoption challenges, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is hopeful that eNaira will lead to an expanded use of digital payments while also reducing the cost of printing and processing cash and deepening financial inclusion.