Financial exclusion has manifested prominently in Nigeria with the bulk of the money in the economy staying outside the banking system. The issue of financial exclusion has therefore been a major economic challenge that has received the attention of the various governments over the past four decades due to increased literacy and government policies directed at encouraging financial sector growth. Since 2005, the Nigerian financial services sector has witnessed increasing activities by both the government and the regulatory authorities aimed at deliberately promoting policies that are intended to grow financial inclusion. One of the critical initiatives in this direction was the incorporation of financial inclusion as one of the cardinal objectives of the Nigerian Financial System Strategy 2020 (FSS 2020). It represents a holistic and strategic road map and framework for developing the Nigerian financial sector into a growth catalyst that will enable Nigeria be one of the 20 largest economies by 2020.

There is a global consensus on the importance of financial inclusion due to its key role of bringing integrity and stability into an economy’s financial system as well as its role in fighting poverty in a sustainable manner. It is more pertinent in the case of Nigeria as a developing nation to use financial inclusion as a platform not just for growing the financial sector but more as an engine for driving an inclusive economic growth.

It is upon this backdrop that the Committee of e-Business Industry Heads (CeBIH) focused her annual retreat on Repositioning Digital Payments to achieve the Financial Inclusion Goals of Financial System Strategy 20:2020.

The retreat will focus on and critically examine the progress, current status and what needs to be done for the country to achieve the national financial inclusion goals of achieving 80% inclusion such as access to finance, insurance services and plans by the year 2020.

The outline speakers for this year’s retreat includes: Mr Isaac Ondieki of MicroSave Africa; speaking on Financial Inclusion Perspectives across Africa; Mr Grama Narasimhan of Sterling Bank Plc, speaking on Financial Inclusion: Lessons from the Indian Demonetization Policy: Mrs. Simi Nwogugu of Junior Achievement Nigeria, speaking on Consumer Education as an enabler for adoption of Financial Services; Dr. David-West of Lagos Business School, speaking on An assessment of the Nigerian Financial Inclusion Sector; Mr. Emeka Okoye of Cymantiks Nigeria limited speaking on Leveraging Big Data for Financial Inclusion;, Mr Bunmi Akinyemiju of Splashers Technologies speaking on Positioning Payment Technology for the last mile access  and Mr. Ekechi Nwokah of Mines.Io, Inc speaking on Access to Finance as an accelerator for Financial Inclusion.

The retreat is scheduled to hold from the 23rd – 24th November 2017 at the Park Inn by Radisson, Abeokuta, Ogun State. It promises to be a time of networking and relaxation especially for the payments industry executives who had been busy all year round.