Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has said the biggest growth opportunities in digital financial inclusion lies in the ability to combine the mobile phone, cards and agency banking services in the most cost effective and convenient way to reach the citizenry on a sustainable basis.

Akinwuntan, who made this submission at the Ecobank Digital Financial Inclusion virtual summit in Lagos on Tuesday explained that  bank branches and ATM channels are cost intensive to scale and less attractive to mass market financial service providers.

He said agency banking, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), mobile app, card services, including internet banking and chat bots remain optimum channels for digital financial inclusion.

The Ecobank Managing Director explained that digital financial inclusion entails deployment of cost saving digital means to reach financially excluded and underserved population with a range of financial  services suitable to their needs and delivered at affordable cost, noting that it offers lots of benefits to all players in the value chain and also engenders wealth creation, drives economic growth and sustainable development.

Further, he observed that the Nigerian financial inclusion trend has improved significantly, with exclusion rate declining 15.7 per cent between 2008 and 2018.

“There is sustained growth in digital financial inclusion, and it is largely driven by customer changing demands; entrance of non-traditional players such as Fintechs, Payment Service Banks (PSBs); mobile services penetration and enabling regulatory environment.

With the introduction of mobile wallet Tier 1 accounts accessible with a phone number, agency banking, micro-lending, mobile BVN, micro-insurance, cashless policy and others we should now begin to move from poverty alleviation to wealth creation for the citizenry.

Further partnership and collaboration of all stakeholders remains critical to deliver further growth in digital financial inclusion. Ecobank has been committed to driving digital financial inclusion through her pan Africa network advantage, award winning capabilities and various flagship products and services.

We collaborate with Fintechs in Africa, as we are present across 33 countries in Africa. If you wish to bring your innovation into the financial system, you can reach out to us and we will guide you through the required regulatory requirements and then integrate your innovation into our digital payments and financial system”. He stated.

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