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Rebuilding the financial building blocks for the excluded in North East Nigeria: The Riby Initiative

By Guardian Nigeria
23 December 2021   |   11:00 am
The general economic situation and the prevailing social realities triggered by the impact of the insurgency has brought much disruption of the normal livelihood processes in the lives of most people in some of the states in North-East of Nigeria. There is the need for a sustainable business innovation that connects the people with the opportunities and tools they need to sustain their families, communities and help them grow even in the face of conflict and crisis.

The general economic situation and the prevailing social realities triggered by the impact of the insurgency has brought much disruption of the normal livelihood processes in the lives of most people in some of the states in North-East of Nigeria. There is the need for a sustainable business innovation that connects the people with the opportunities and tools they need to sustain their families, communities and help them grow even in the face of conflict and crisis.

Digital financial services (DFS) and products present a promising opportunity to address some of these pressing needs to enable them  invest in their farms and diversifying income streams beyond agricultural production into non-farm and non-agricultural dependent livelihoods.

While international agencies, organization and government support has provided some relief, the results haven’t been sustainable and localized to provide long lasting solutions to the problems faced by the people. 

We have discovered that group-based model is very effective in empowering the people as it has become the bridge, bringing all the members together and providing the building blocks necessary to boast the growth and expand their respective individual and group enterprise through their internal pool of saving and easy access to external financial services. 

Groups in their millions, have continued to experience limited growth, slow and inefficient service delivery because they manage their activities manually and are unable to fully utilize the group power to drive the growth of their respective members and groups.

The mission of RIBY, a digital and financial services company and one of Nigeria’s foremost digital platforms provider for cooperatives, informal savings groups, micro & small-scale enterprises, trade groups and individuals is to drive collective growth with its bundle of technological products and services. 

In addition to the provision of a platform that enhance efficient self- running of the groups for savings, contributions, loans, and investments, Riby provides access to financial services for individuals in cooperatives, informal savings groups, micro & small- scale enterprises, trade groups as well as economic clusters, exposing them to different ideas on how to achieve scalability in their groups and properly understand the structure of the cooperative society in order to fully harness its full benefits and also equip them with knowledge about financial literacy.

Over the past few years, we have demonstrated our ability to deliver our services both through technology and active market penetration (engaging users across several states in Nigeria). We have on-boarded thousands of groups to our platform (Riby CoBanking), thousands of agents (banking and cooperative management agents) use our platform (Riby Agent and cooperative App) with millions of users and transaction records managed through the Riby platforms.

Recently, with the support from Mercycorps Nigeria who since 2012 has been working in the most marginalized regions of Nigeria to deliver urgent, lifesaving assistance and building the resilience of communities, Riby is expanding its business activities to achieve greater impact in the North-East Nigeria to drive financial and economic opportunities for vulnerable communities, mostly Women, Youths, Smallholder Farmers, and MSME. 

The group model for saving, borrowing, and promoting collectively growth is a wide-spread method to encourage the inclusion of women and youths in groups as viable actors in market systems. It has been proven to have a last-mile reach for a segment of the woman and youth population. We have existing models of activity that leverage technology to reduce transaction costs, improve supply chain management, and support farmers on how to use products and services including digital platforms and record management that support transparency and accountability.

We hope to reach and  provide service to 1000 groups with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes to seize economic opportunities, help them gain control of their lives and exert influence in society through a group model for saving, borrowing, and promoting collectively growth in four states Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe by end of 2022. The primary focus is in areas of knowledge, skills, technologies, business support services and financial services needed to enable the groups to engage in productive activities, generate income, and thereby reduce poverty.

We have started stakeholders’ engagement held across all the four states with conversations on how to effectively implement the initiative. The Mercy Corps, implementer of the Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity and Riby collaboration is set to reach more lives, groups, and communities in 2022. We are not only passionate about driving the impact and inclusion in the North-East but across every part of Nigeria. If you share the same passion and goal with us, let’s work together by reaching out to our team info@riby.me / support@riby.me

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