Mapping Subnational Microfinance Banking in Nigeria

Mapping Subnational Microfinance Banking in Nigeria

Telling stories and raising questions by comparing different data sets

To better visualize the subnational microfinance landscape in Nigeria, we partnered with the Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) to build Nigeria.MIXmarket.org. The new site is a window into a part of the world experiencing a microfinance boom with growth rates ranging between 20 to 50 percent over the past few years. The site shows where banks are and aren’t operating and aims to help show why by relating the locations of microfinance banks with potentially relevant socio-economic indicators.

Map of microfinance banks in Nigeria showing density points on a district level

Scott Gaul has a great post describing the microfinance landscape in Nigeria:

In 2006, the Central Bank of Nigeria began to transform a network of several hundred community banks into ‘microfinance banks’ (MFB). Since that time, the registration rolls have ballooned, now to over 900 institutions, albeit not without considerable turmoil. 224 banks had their licenses revoked in 2010, only to have 121 of these reverted back to a state of provisional approval months later. Reporting from clients indicates that many are uncertain or suspicious of these banks, and the sheer numbers create a regulatory burden.

At the same time, more than 60 percent of the population of Nigeria are financially excluded or have informal access only – 71 percent of loans are from family or friends, for instance. So, when there are several hundred financial institutions across the country focusing on low-income clients and able to offer a range of services, it’s worth trying to lean more about the details and dynamics of that sector.

Through the use of interactive maps, the site aims to tell the story of the microfinance landscape in Nigeria and raise questions by making it easy to compare other data sets to bank data. Users can navigate the maps and visualize the data in a number of ways. When first loaded, a map visualizes the total number of microfinance banks licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria as density points geocoded at the state level, letting you quickly see a national view of banking operations. As you zoom in, the detail of the bank data increases to local government areas where that data is available. The bank data can be toggled between “licensed” and “provisional” status, which changes the density points.
To give context to this data it is laid upon choropleth layers of socio-economic indicators from the National Population Commission, the first of which maps population per state. This immediately brings up some questions, like why the most populous state of Kano only has six microfinance banks when Lagos, the second-most populous, has over 150. Additional contextual data shows a trend of lower bank numbers per population in Muslim states north of the the Sharia line.

Kano, the largest State in Nigeria, has only six microfinance banks

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