Banking on Nigeria's Last Mile: How a Digital Startup Leveraged Traditional Networks

As part of WJP's Rule of Law Solutions Initiative, World Justice Project researcher and ACLS Mellon Fellow Joe Haley speaks with the founder of tech startup Bankly, Tomiola Adejana. They met in the Hague, Netherlands, where Adejana had just been announced as the 2020 winner of the Innovating Justice Challenge, an incubator program run by the Hague Institute for Innovating Law. Their conversation explores Bankly's strategy for using traditional networks to introduce digital finance to Nigeria's "last mile." They also discuss the strategic role of impact investment, the process of social entrepreneurship, and the regulatory challenges confronting a financial startup in Nigeria.


In March of 2020, World Justice Project researcher and ACLS Mellon Fellow Joe Haley traveled to West Africa to interview local government officials and civil society activists. The purpose of this field research was to understand how access to justice — the capacity of ordinary people to resolve their everyday justice problems fairly without undue hardship — works in the Sahel, a semi-arid region that snakes along the southern edge of the Sahara desert, from Senegal and Mauritania in the West to Sudan and Eritrea in the East. 

The Sahel is marked by high levels of poverty and environmental fragility. It is also host to one of the world's most intractable conflicts. Since 2012, national and international forces have been locked in a pitched fight against Islamic extremists in Mali, Niger, and Chad. This conflict has had profound implications for West and Central Africa, as it has disrupted economic activity and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. In this Rule of Law Solutions: Access to Justice in the Sahel series of reflections and interviews with local practitioners, Joe asks, how can access to justice build peace and resilience in the Sahel?


  • Tomilola Adejana, Founder and CEO of Bankly