As the Central Bank of Nigeria continues efforts to ensure more Nigerians have access to financial services, it has launched a digital platform to train individuals and experts on financial inclusion.
Speaking during the launch of the platform christened SabiMoni on Monday in Abuja, the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, noted that the platform provides an opportunity for interested participants to be trained and become Certified Financial Literacy Trainers (CFLT) through self-service.
While stating that the platform is aimed at supporting efforts to ramp up the number of experts that can be used to drive financial education in the country, Emefiele said that the key driver to financial inclusion is financial literacy.
“It is a prerequisite for greater financial inclusion, which would lead to the stability of the financial system and ultimately economic growth and development. Research has shown that the absence of or low levels of financial literacy constitutes an impediment to financial inclusion. In other words, the pace of financial inclusion is directly related to the level of financial literacy and financial capability (National Financial Literacy Framework).”
He pointed out that a report showed that Nigeria has a high rate of financial exclusion when compared to other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, adding that the country has low awareness levels which served as a major barrier to financial inclusion.
“It further indicates that a third of Nigerians have low financial capability levels. This is a direct implication of low financial literacy levels. To address the financial inclusion gaps, the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2022, identifies increasing adoption and usage of financial services in priority demographics comprising of the most vulnerable segments such as women, youth, MSMEs, rural dwellers and especially, the Northern part of the country as well as expansion of Digital Financial Services and Platforms amongst its strategic priority areas.”
He, however, stated that to turn the tide, the bank would take deliberate steps to upscale financial capability through financial education programs, saying the shortage of skilled and experienced persons to drive financial education remains a major hindrance.
“There is no gain saying the fact that the SabiMONI Financial Literacy e-Learning Platform will enable us to drive financial education physically through the Certified Financial Literacy Trainers at the locations where it is most needed. It will enable us to drive Digital Financial Literacy thereby boosting consumer confidence in the uptake and utilization of Digital Financial Services.”
“The SabiMONI portal will serve as a repository of information not only for learners but also for researchers in the most effective manner. Today, there will be a brief walkthrough of the SabiMONI platform and comments will be made by various stakeholders on its effectiveness. Testimonials by already existing users of the platform on their experiences would also be shared. A demonstration of the practical onboarding process for cohorts or target groups will be made. I encourage you to fully participate, take notes, ask questions, and ensure that you understand the process to enable you to pass the message to others.”
Speaking, CBN’s Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Aishah Ahmad said the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2022 places high priority on financial and digital learning as a strategy that would enable the creation of a conducive environment for serving or ensuring the inclusion of the most excluded groups.
“One of the key drivers of Financial Inclusion today, is no doubt financial literacy. It is a prerequisite for greater financial inclusion, which would lead to the stability of the financial system and ultimately economic growth and development.”
Its Director of Consumer Protection, Rashida Monguno, said financial literacy remains a key driver of financial inclusion globally as it encompasses knowledge and skills that enable an individual to effectively manage financial resources to enhance their economic well-being.
She added that the inclusion of trust, confidence, and participation in the formal financial system would make financially literate consumers to be able to make better financial decisions.
“This is a catalyst for greater financial inclusion and stability of the financial system. Penetration of financial literacy in Nigeria is still low, with a current rate of 64.1%. This, no doubt, may not be unconnected with shortage of skilled financial literacy trainers and limited avenues or channels for financial education.”
“Latest results from the Access to Finance Survey by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) suggest that the low level of financial literacy continues to constitute a barrier to financial inclusion.”
She explained that the SabiMONI was conceived as an avenue for driving financial education amongst the target segment of the Nigerian population and facilitating financial education programs for end beneficiaries.
“It will also support efforts at enhancing financial inclusion through digitalization. It would serve as a channel for propagating digital financial literacy thereby ramping up adoption and usage of digital financial services.”
“With the launch of the SabiMONI platform, we now have a knowledge base where individuals can learn about financial literacy at their own pace from their comfort zones and with ease.”
She stated that the platform was developed with the acceptance of the Financial Inclusion Steering and Technical Committees, and with the support of the German Agency for International Development (GIZ), the Financial Literacy Working Group (FLWG).
“This platform currently consists of fifteen (15) financial literacy modules and the learning methodology. Some of these modules include Needs and Wants, non-interest finance, fraud and scam, budgeting, investing etc. The modules are fashioned in a training of trainer model with the primary targets being the “Intermediaries Segment” as identified by the NFLF. Upon completion of the course, learners would qualify as Certified Financial Literacy Trainers (CFLT).”
Sterling Bank, AATIF boost renewable energy-powered Agriculture with $15m
Sterling Bank, in conjunction with the Africa Agriculture and Trade Investment Fund (AATIF), is set to promote environment-friendly agriculture businesses by lending the sum of $15 million to sustainable and renewable energy-powered Agric enterprises.
The $15 million medium-term facility from AATIF is an extension of the lender’s commitment to support the growth of the bank’s agricultural activities.
In a statement issued by the lender, Group Head for Agriculture and Solid Minerals Finance, Dr Olushola Obikanye, said the funding will further deepen Sterling’s agricultural investments in the agribusiness industry, promote sustainable practices, and encourage farmers to explore environment-friendly systems.
Also speaking on the funding, Sterling Bank’s Group Head for Energy, Dele Faseemo, said the fund will seek to increase Sterling’s funding for renewable energy installations in the agricultural sector and will positively impact lending in the sector as well as the Nigerian economy.
Chair of the AATIF Board of Directors, Ms Doris Koehn, said of the deal, “When we first invested in Sterling Bank, we were keen to help actualize its impressive ambitions in growing its agricultural portfolio in Nigeria. Four and a half years later, we are proud to renew our partnership with the Bank and are focused on further enabling its efforts towards serving local smallholder farmers.”
The Bank has become renowned as one of the key partners and lenders to the agricultural sector, with over N100 billion, or approximately 13 percent of its lending portfolio, currently financing agricultural businesses across Nigeria.
Sterling has also innovated in the renewable energy space with the launch of Imperium, its solution to power homes and businesses, and is currently in the final stages of deploying Nigeria’s largest solar-powered solution for commercial property with the ongoing transformation of its Lagos Marina headquarters.
The 18-storey building has been fitted with over 3,000 photovoltaic panels and will generate power from renewable sources.