Financial Inclusion and Resilience to COVID-19 Economic Shocks in Nigeria
Adeniran, Adedeji P.
Muthinja, Moses M.
African Economic Research Consortium
We examine the role of financial inclusion, ownership of bank accounts, and previous use of formal financial saving facilities as a resilience factor in the effect of COVID-19 on households' welfare in Nigeria. Using a novel data set that tracks food security among families in Nigeria before and during COVID-19, we find a negative effect of COVID-19 on welfare. The impact is more severe among male-headed households, those living in the southern region of Nigeria, and lower educated households. We also test how financial inclusion mitigates this effect through a triple difference analysis in which the households that are financially included and in non-agricultural sector are considered the treatment group. Financial inclusion did not support resilience to shock among non-agricultural homes. Given the magnitude and multisectoral dimension of the COVID-19 shock, financial inclusion was not enough to mitigate the effect. This, therefore, points to a role for stronger government support in a large shock like COVID-19.