Nigeria: AfDB, MTN sign $500,000 grant agreement to help women’s access to financial services

The logo of the African Development Bank is displayed during the 21st World Energy Congress in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010. The theme of WEC Montreal 2010 provides a framework to address the four major challenges: accessibility, availability, acceptability, and accountability, facing the energy community, global leaders, and general public. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The African Development Bank ( has signed a grant agreement for $500,000 with Y’ello Digital Financial Services (YDFS), a fintech subsidiary of MTN Nigeria, to be used for a study into economic, religious, and social factors hampering access to finance for women in northern Nigeria.

The research, which includes a feasibility study, women-focused design and testing, will focus on both agents and customers to provide insights into women’s use of mobile money services, will be funded through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI).

Despite being the continent’s largest economy, 55 percent of rural Nigerians still lack access to financial services. The rate of mobile money adoption currently stands at 4 percent,  with an agent ratio of 228.8 agents per 1,000 adults. Political instability and conservative cultural norms in parts of Northern Nigeria are thought to present barriers to women’s access to finance. Additionally, 80 percent of agents in the region are men.

“The African Development Bank, through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), is delighted to support this project, furthering our work to improve the quality of life for people in Nigeria and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly as relates to poverty, and gender inclusion,” said Stefan Nalletamby, African Development Bank Director of Financial Sector Development.

On behalf of YDFS, Usoro Usoro, Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are truly excited about this partnership with the African Development Bank, and the possibilities for advancing financial inclusion in Nigeria, particularly for the traditionally excluded segment of women in Northern Nigeria.”