Mr. Olufunwa Akinmade, Divisional Head, Retail, SME Banking, and E-Business, Unity Bank Plc, explained that the “raison d’être for launching the Bank’s latest retail product called Yanga is to create a unique product proposition aimed at empowering Nigeria’s underbanked women entrepreneurs.”
Akinmade stated during a media interview, citing a recent EFInA report, that “there are 51 million Nigerian women above the age of 18, with over 41 percent of the unbanked.” According to these figures, there are 14-18 million female entrepreneurs – primarily in the micro SME category.”
Remember that Unity Bank launched the women-focused Yanga account in November 2021 to promote financial inclusion and serve unbanked women entrepreneurs in the MSME space across Nigeria.
As a result, the new retail product is intended to have a greater positive impact on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) run by women in the mass-market retail space.
“Recent research has shown that Nigeria has the highest number of female entrepreneurs in the world, with an estimated 40 million SMEs, of which women constitute approximately 42 percent,” Akinmade says.
“These women have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt their ability to generate wealth and contribute productively to the economy.” However, much more needs to be done, beginning with providing them with the necessary tools to realize their entrepreneurial potential.
“Right now, they face numerous institutional and cultural barriers when starting or running their businesses.” According to a recent report, only 22% of female entrepreneurs have access to finance, compared to 34% of male entrepreneurs.
“This is one of the reasons we introduced Yanga, to bridge this gap while also narrowing the population of underbanked female entrepreneurs.”
Akinmade went on to say that the Unity Yanga product will play a critical role in increasing financial inclusion and decreasing the number of underbanked women because it comes with a unique product proposition that includes an easy to operate and free to open Savings account with no identification required, a customized debit card, and dedicated sales officers.
Other distinctive features identified by him include special banking agents in each market location and quarterly Seminars at major market locations anchored by Unity Bank and its alliance partners.
“By rolling out this scheme across all geopolitical regions, Unity Bank’s goal is to work tirelessly towards reducing the country’s huge number of underbanked women,” he added.
(1) micro-loans and (2) HMO-offerings are important components of the Yanga Product experience.
The micro-loan would be made available through time-tested Credit Policies and technology-based credit scoring. These would aid in the detection of frivolous applications as well as the reduction of NPLs.
Yanga is available to all female entrepreneurs across the country. With its brand ambassador, popular Nollywood actor Sola Sobowale, the bank is currently conducting market activations in strategic locations across the country. The Yanga activation train has already visited Gombe, Akwa Ibom, and Ibadan, and it is currently in Lagos en route to Port Harcourt.