Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed access to banking services, but it felt like an impossible task? You may live in a remote area with limited banking options or have been turned away from a bank because of your need for documentation. Millions of Nigerians face barriers to financial inclusion, which can limit their economic opportunities and well-being. But the impact of financial exclusion goes beyond inconvenience. It can limit individuals' economic opportunities, making it harder to start and grow businesses, access credit, and save for the future. As a Nigerian, you may have heard about the importance of financial inclusion in improving the economic prospects of individuals and the country. Fortunately, there are steps individuals can take to improve their financial situation and access financial services.
Mobile money is a convenient and secure way to send and receive money, pay bills, and purchase using your mobile phone. This can be especially helpful for people who live in remote areas or have limited access to traditional banking services. Some Nigerians might be skeptical about employing digital services to complete transactions. Still, these services are accessible compared to conventional banking services, making them an excellent way to promote financial inclusion. For example, small business owners in rural villages can use mobile money to pay suppliers and receive customer payments without travelling long distances to a bank. Using accessible digital payment platforms saves time and money and helps these individuals focus on growing their businesses.
In recent times, we find that cooperative societies are the modern-day version of what we used to know as Ajo, Esusu or Adashe.
All over Nigeria, it is common to see small contributory savings schemes. These schemes bring together a group of people to contribute a daily portion of their trading profit to a collective.
In Yoruba, these saving schemes are called Ajo, referred to as Adashe in the north, and the Igbo word for it is Esusu. These group savings serve as a source of borrowing in emergencies, a way to grow savings and a means to achieve a communal goal. This concept has several other variants throughout Africa, Europe and Asia. For example, the Chinese - American Hui and the Japanese-American Tanomoshi carry out all of the functions of a Wall Street investment bank within their ethnic group.
They make loans that would be far too risky for any bank because they can obtain, interpret, and evaluate information about potential borrowers in ways that traditional banks cannot.
Principally, they believe that individual interests are best served by a complete immersion of each individual's interest in the whole. Their shared values and beliefs provide the harmony of interest that motivates members of a clan to embrace the "One for all and all for one" ethos, which is the same principle with which the modern-day credit union/cooperative society operates on.
A credit union is a community-based financial institution providing its members with financial services. Credit unions are often more accessible and flexible than traditional banks. They may offer lower interest rates on loans and higher interest rates on savings. Some Nigerians use these unions to save for their children's education, rent and other essential expenses. With the help of credit unions and cooperatives, they can access affordable loans and achieve their financial goals.
Saving is an essential part of building financial security and resilience. You can reach many financial goals by setting aside a portion of your monthly income. You can create an emergency fund, save for essential purposes like education or a home, and avoid high-cost debt. All of these ensure that you can access your saved income when needed. Automating the process through digital platforms and apps is a great way to ensure consistent savings.
A great way to promote financial inclusion is to invest in learning and encourage others to do the same. Many organizations and institutions offer financial literacy programs to help you build your knowledge and skills in managing your finances. Participating in financial literacy programs can help you make informed financial decisions and avoid costly mistakes.
Investing in financial literacy only sometimes comes at a cost; you can invest your time and efforts to implement the free tools, information and resources provided on the internet. Implementing valuable information will help you grow your finances, expand your business and build a solid financial foundation for your financial future. Get a free credit report here to begin and get a firm hold on your finances.
These steps can enhance your financial well-being and contribute to a more inclusive financial system. Imagine a Nigeria where everyone can access financial services, regardless of where they live or their financial status. Financial literacy is a cornerstone of education. This is not a distant dream but a tangible goal we can all work towards.
What can you do to help achieve this goal? Start by implementing the strategies outlined above, and share them with your friends, family, and community.
Taking action can bring about tremendous improvement. It would enhance financial security and resilience, access banking services more efficiently, and contribute to a more inclusive financial system. So, don't wait - start your journey towards financial inclusion today!
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