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Bank empowers women SMEs with retail products

The Divisional Head, Retail, SME Banking and E-Business, Unity Bank Plc, Mr Olufunwa Akinmade, has said the bank is empowering the underbanked women entrepreneurs in Nigeria with its retail product called ‘Yanga’.

A statement said while citing a recent EFInA report, Akinmade said that “there are 51 million Nigerian women above 18 years of age, with over 41 per cent of the unbanked. Out of these figures, it is estimated that there are 14-18 million female entrepreneurs – mainly in the micro SME category.”

The statement recalled that Unity Bank launched the women-focused Yanga account in November 2021 to promote financial inclusion and cater to unbanked women entrepreneurs across Nigeria in the MSME space.

It added that the product was designed to deepen its beneficial impact on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises operated by women in the mass-market retail space.

Akinmade said, “Recent research has shown that Nigeria has the highest number of women entrepreneurs in the world, with an estimated 40 million SMEs, of whom women constitute approximately 42 per cent.

“These women have proved beyond reasonable doubt that they have the capacity to create wealth and contribute productively to the economy. However, a lot more needs to be done and it starts with empowering them with the right tools to harness this entrepreneurship potential.

“Currently, they face many institutional and cultural hurdles while starting or running their businesses. For instance, a recent report shows that only 22 per cent of female entrepreneurs have access to finance against 34 per cent of males.

“This is part of why we have introduced Yanga to bridge this gap while also narrowing the population of underbanked women entrepreneurs.”

Akinmade explained that the Unity Yanga product would play a critical role in boosting financial inclusion and narrowing the underbanked women population as the account came with a unique product proposition that included an easy-to-operate and free-to-open savings account, with no identification required.

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