COVID-19: Paving The Way for Innovation and Financial Inclusion
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COVID-19: Paving The Way for Innovation and Financial Inclusion

by admin_kenny

Some months back, everyone was hit with a pandemic not experienced before in a long while, affecting a lot of businesses and families. The Corona Virus a.k.a COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives completely.

Who would have thought that there will be a day we will be isolated in our homes or have curfews going out and back? Who would have thought that companies will be forced to implement remote working models, or have most companies closed down permanently due to the effect of the pandemic? Who would have thought that banks will not be open for operations or change opening hours from 10 am to 2 pm only to key customers?

These questions and more come to mind. For what it’s worth, this has taught Nigeria (and the world at large) a lesson to always be ready for any crisis at any given time.

COVID-19 is a test of time for many and most especially the financial sector. More recently, the focus of the Federal Government has been to drive financial inclusion and deepen the penetration of financial services in places that are underbanked and unbanked. Now, with the emergence of the pandemic, this makes it even harder; people keeping a physical distance from each other thereby making it hard to bank more unbanked people.

Now the critical question is how do we achieve financial inclusion despite the pandemic, as Covid-19 cases increase daily and nothing can be predicted right now because policies, strategies, and laws will be affected as well.

This impact of Covid19 has reduced the need to frequently visit the banking hall to perform basic transactions, one day you might just wake up and realize that the banks could be closed for the meantime or just opened for less than the hour that it is currently open for. In such a scenario, agent banking, comprising a network of banking agents who act as physical bank branches, is the answer.

What is agent banking?

Agent Banking means providing limited scale banking and financial services to the underserved population through engaged agents under a valid agency agreement, rather than a teller/ cashier. It is the owner of an outlet who conducts banking transactions on behalf of a bank.

 

The adoption of Agency banking will play an important role in the coming years for financial inclusion. Acting as “proxy banks”, agents will provide individuals and small businesses with the financial services they need to stimulate local development and economic growth.

Also due to this, the previously unbanked and underbanked customers now have easy access to a financial institution near them and The banks will be able to expand their customer base by onboarding new customers who were previously out of their reach.

Mobile Data capture and identity management solution for Agent banking.

It’s time to go digital!

Due to the COVID-19, it might be difficult for these agents to perform some KYC activities like they normally do. However, going digital will eliminate any atom of fear and stress. With a Data Capture and Identity Management platform, agency bankers can easily perform their KYC activities hassle-free. This way data is managed efficiently and allows the agents to perform multiple tasks with ease.

To know more visit bioregistra.com

Coronavirus in Nigeria: Big Data Exposing How the People Feel About it All.

by admin_kenny

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, we carried out a nationwide survey in the month of March, using our Data Capture and Analytics Platform, BioRegistra. This we did to gather the opinions of Nigerians regarding the Coronavirus pandemic and how well the country is prepared for it.

Below is the result of the survey:

Awareness about the virus

We asked the audience if they are aware of the pandemic, Coronavirus (COVID 19)? It was encouraging when 100% of the audience selected the option ‘Yes, I am’.

Other options were ‘Maybe. I still think it’s fake news’ and ‘No. I have no idea what that is’.

Coronavirus in Nigeria

This time, we asked our audience if they believe the news that there is Coronavirus in Nigeria. 86.8% of the respondents believe that there is coronavirus in Nigeria. 10.5% say they are not completely sold on the news as something sounds fishy. The remaining 2.6% do not believe and think it’s all propaganda … Yikes!

Fear of the outcome

Does the idea that the virus is near scare you? We know fear doesn’t help, but it’s one emotion that will be predominant this period. Our data shows that 73.7% of the audience are scared to their bones that the virus is in Nigeria. 21.1% of them are only slightly bothered, while 5.2% are not shaken as they still doubt the news. For the 5.2%, it might be their strong belief in the idiom that ‘what you don’t know won’t hurt you’, or just pure unbelief in the face of alarming evidence.

Nigeria’s readiness to fight

The fight is tough, even for more advanced countries with their vast knowledge and know-how, especially because of past successful dealings with pandemics. So what about Nigeria, how equipped are we to deal with this virus?

42.1% (the majority) of our audience think Nigeria is not equipped to fight the virus alone. 7.9% believe Nigeria is doomed! And 13.3% will prefer to watch and see. For the positives: 5.3% believe Nigeria has all it takes to combat the virus alone, while 31.6% believe we can do even better with external help.

Willingness to get tested and quarantined

One effective way to truly flatten the curve will be to test more and get positive people into quarantine. So let’s say there were more test kits, will Nigerians be willing to comply?

6.5% of our audience are indeed willing to get tested for the virus and quarantined if necessary. 26.3% will get tested but would rather self-isolate… which is still another good measure. However, it is disconcerting that the rest of the respondents, which is the majority, believe they cannot have the virus either because of their strong immune system or that God will forbid it.

It is important to note that there is an option that says ‘No. I don’t trust the health system’, but none of the audience went for that option

The future: A Coronavirus-free Nigeria

Now, this is a future we all look forward to and hope will be sooner than later. We asked our audience what/who they think will be responsible for a Coronavirus-free Nigeria, and this is what we got:

57.9% of the audience believe team effort from government and citizens will help combat the virus. 10.5% agree that it will be good measures by health officials. 23.7% can bet that the virus will disappear as a result of fasting and prayers. Another 23.7% believe it will be because of our strong immunity. And yet again, another 23.7% believe it will be our hot weather. There is a whopping 5.3% who believe the country’s good luck and blessings will do it all. Finally, 2.6% are hopeful the virus will disappear on its own.

Few more weeks, and we’ll know who’s right for sure.

Classic symptoms of Coronavirus

We asked the audience to select amongst the following options, what the classic symptoms of COVID-19 are: Cough, Catarrh, Body pains, Bleeding, Fever, Convulsion, Sore throat, Itchy eyes, Rashes, and All of the above.

We found out that 73.7% of the audience are well aware of the classic symptoms of Coronavirus (cough, fever, sore throat, body pains, difficulty breathing). However, amongst them, some believe there are additional symptoms like itchy eyes, catarrh, bleeding, rashes and even convulsion.

Preventing the spread of the virus

And finally, we wanted to know to what extent our audience is aware of the measures they should take to flatten the curve in Nigeria. In the mix of proven measures, we also added the popular myths. The result below shows the percentage of people that believe the following measures:

Practice social distancing -100%
Avoid shaking hands -100%
Stay at home if you’re sick -100%
Wash your hands and use hand sanitizers -100%
Ban gatherings of all kind. Everyone should stay indoors -100%
Eat lots of garlic -87%
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables -87%
Gargle with saltwater -84%
Drink and bathe with hot water -80%
Believe, hope, and pray -52%

Recommendations

Nigerians need to be better educated and sensitized about the presence of the virus in the country, its dangers, and the measures to take to protect themselves and prevent further spread of the virus.

Every local media channel should be in the faces and ears of the people with top-of-the-mind awareness messages about the virus. These messages should provoke thoughts and not fear as that is the last thing we need right now.


You too can lend your voice and help us gather even more data. Here is the LINK to the survey. You can also set up your own survey for free using our solution. Click HERE to begin.

Remember to obey the laws of social distancing, stay safe, and follow only reliable news as reported by NCDC.