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Nigerians Bury Cash in Backyards as Mobile Money Stumbles

  • Financial inclusion in most populous African nation lags peers
  • Less than 6% of Nigerians use mobile money to transact
A currency dealer counts bundles of naira banknotes. 
Photographer: Tom Saater/Bloomberg
Updated on

Every few days, Tasiu Abdurrahman takes the money he makes from selling spices in Nigeria’s biggest northern city and buries it in his yard.

The 55-year-old closed his bank account eight years ago after growing disillusioned with standing in long lines for hours to deposit or withdraw cash. Abdurrahman is one of about 50 million of the unbanked in Nigeria, which despite having Africa’s largest mobile-phone market, is only just opening up to the technology to bring banking to its estimated 200 million people.