Financial inclusion success: What Nigeria can learn from Ghana

Jul 07, 2023|Nchedolisa Akuma

Key questions this article answers:

  1. In 2010, Nigeria and Ghana were at par on financial exclusion rates. Nigeria’s 46% and Ghana’s 44% of adults didn’t have access to financial services. Yet today, Ghana has a 4% exclusion rate compared to Nigeria’s 36%. Why has Ghana progressed faster than Nigeria? 

  2. What key regulatory manoeuvres helped Ghana remove access barriers for its most financially vulnerable citizens?

Between 2010-2021, the population of financially excluded (persons lacking access to basic financial services, whether formal or informal) Ghanaian adults shrunk by -88%, while Nigeria’s grew by 3%.



These figures are close to embarrassing.

How did a nation less than a quarter of Nigeria’s size (that can barely get jollof rice right) become more successful at tackling financial inclusion?

To be fair, Nigeria’s rapidly growing population (2.4% vs Ghana: 2.0%) certainly doesn’t help matters. While we’ve seen some progress in narrowing the proportion of financially excluded adults, absolute figures are still rising because our population continues to do what it does best: spiral out of control.


The law of big numbers is simply not on Nigeria’s side. A fast-growing, large nation like Nigeria will keep producing more financially excluded adults faster than the best pro-inclusion policies can keep up with, especially if those policies aren’t fit for purpose.

This article will explore the key differences in regulatory approaches that led Ghana to leap ahead of Nigeria and the lessons Nigeria can learn from its tiny next-door neighbour.

First, let’s compare key inclusion outcomes for both countries.

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