In a bid to cater to the increasing demand for foreign education, Nigerian banks have disbursed a total of $533.48 million through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) between October 2022 and March 2023. The data was derived from the latest statistical bulletin issued by the CBN, and experts believe that the amount for the second quarter of 2023 (spanning from April to June) may be even higher, considering the recent unification of the exchange rate by the CBN.
Prior to the exchange rate unification, there was a significant gap between the black market exchange rate and the official rate, which put immense pressure on the Nigerian currency, the naira.
The surge in Nigerians seeking foreign education has been fueled, in part, by the “japa wave,” wherein individuals are emigrating to other countries in search of better opportunities. These emigrating students have faced challenges as banks took considerable time to process their separate Form A. As a result, many had to resort to purchasing dollars from Bureau De Change providers.
According to CBN records, the disbursement for foreign education saw fluctuations during the specified period. In October 2022, $96.19 million was released, which increased to $125.29 million in November 2022. Subsequently, $93.12 million was disbursed in December 2022, followed by $91.45 million in January 2023.
However, there was a minor decline in February 2023, with only $74.03 million being released. The trend continued in March 2023, with a modest disbursement of $53.40 million, according to the CBN data.
The rising trend of Nigerian students seeking study visas abroad is evident in recently disclosed data from the UK’s Home Office. The number of study visas granted to Nigerians increased by a staggering 222.8%, with 65,929 visas awarded as of June 2022, compared to 20,427 during the same period in 2021.
As the demand for foreign education continues to grow, it remains to be seen how the Nigerian banking sector and the CBN will adapt to meet the financial needs of aspiring students seeking education abroad.