The Mercy Corps has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TAJ Bank to reduce the high rate of financial exclusion in the North east Nigeria.
Speaking at the occasion in Abuja, Country Director of Mercy Corps, Mr Ndubisi Anyanwu, said the organisation is partnering with TAJ Bank, one of the frontline in promoting non-interest financial services, to reduce the high rate of financial exclusion in North east Nigeria.
He said that the partnership is aimed at delivering financial products and services to 90,000 households in Northeast Nigeria.
He noted that the project is part of the USAID-funded Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity implemented by Mercy Corps through a consortium of Save the Children International and International Fertilizer Development Cooperation (IFDC).
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“It is a critical step towards reducing the financial exclusion rate as a catalyst for improving the economic well-being of the Rural Resilience Activity’s participants in Northeast Nigeria.
“We hope that our partnership with TAJ bank will help address the financial needs of the critical demographics youths, women, rural communities and micro businesses in the region and also foster sustainable growth and economic prosperity of the Nigeria North East,” Anyanwu said.
He said that the 2020 Access to Financial Services Survey, listed 50 percent of the people in Northeast Nigeria as financially excluded, of which 80 percent live in rural areas.
He said, “Therefore, this partnership is a critical step in the right direction to promote access to finance for more than 90,000 households and businesses supported by Mercy Corps under the USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity. The cultural and religious aspirations of most of the Northeast population who are predominantly Muslims.”
Responding, the TAJ bank Managing Director, Mr. Hamid Joda, said the partnership is worthwhile and that he believe it will be a model for institutions to follow.
He said that the partnership will explore ways of driving financial inclusion along with the mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) because it will drive financial inclusion, you will reduce poverty and also increase employment.
“There are so many entrepreneurs in those areas that are unbanked. We need to bring them into the financial system and create models financing models that will enable them scale of their businesses and reduce the level of poverty in those areas.
“I think this partnership would go a long way in giving us that opportunity with the ultimate aim of reducing poverty and increasing and the level of employment because these are the two issues that are affecting us as a country today,” Joda said.