Purpose: Financial inclusion entails the delivery of financial services to individuals and businesses at segments of the society at a reasonable rate that meets their desired transactions. In view of this, the paper examined financial inclusion and economic growth in Nigeria from 1981-2018.
Methods: The ARDL model was used to analyze the annual time series data collected from the CBN Statistical Bulletin and the World Bank report. The augmented Dickey Fully (ADF) unit root test, to test for stationarity of the variables preceded the ARDL model.
Results: The ADF unit root test results showed that the dependent variable was stationary at order zero I(0), while the independent variables were stationary at order one I(1). Based on the first-hand results, it was revealed that both in the short-run and long-run, access and effective usage of financial services bring about a significant increase in economic growth. But per capita income has a negative but significant relationship with economic growth.
Implications: The study conforms to finance-led growth theory which averred that the financial system is a positive function of economic growth. Based on these findings, the paper recommended that more efforts needed to be done to enhance and extend financial inclusion services such as electronic transaction in the form of POS, ATM, mobile money, etc to all rural communities in Nigeria as well as financial literacy and engagement of low-income people in the formal financial services in order to increase economic growth.