Ghana exceeds its financial inclusion target via MoMo payment system

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Economics Financial Innclusion
Economics Financial Innclusion

Mobile Money (MoMo), a mobile payment system that allows for easy transactions even among rural people, has helped Ghana to exceed its financial inclusion target of reaching the adult population by 85 per cent by 2023. 

Out of the 19.73 million adult population (15 years and above) served collectively by banks and non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), MoMo accounts for 65 per cent of the 95 per cent, the 2021 Demand Side Survey (DSS) has shown. 
However, the study, conducted by FinMark for the Ministry of Finance, found that about 5.9 million adult Ghanaians were yet to have access to financial services. 

It was supported by the World Bank, Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), representatives from various government institutions, private sector actors and development partners. 

The adult population consists of 19 per cent of people who had no formal education, 12 per cent with primary education, secondary education – 57 per cent, vocational/specialised training – four per cent and tertiary education – eight per cent. 

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, in Accra, Mr Bobby Berkowitz, a Senior Analytics Specialist with FinMark, said the findings showed that Ghana’s financial sector had transformed. 

As of 2010, Ghana’s adult financial exclusion – people who either saved at home, borrowed from family and friends and sent or received money personally rather than using formal or informal financial services stood at 44 per cent. 
Meanwhile, the DSS report showed that as of 2021, financial exclusion among adult Ghanaians stood at four per cent, and “the big transformation has been mobile money,” Mr Berkowitz, said. 

He said that was because, “Mobile money is accessible. It’s very easy for people to go to a mobile money agent. It’s also affordable and makes a big difference for Ghanaians to send money and receive money from friends and family.”  
He, however, asked the Government to effectively manage the MoMo system to ensure that the financial inclusion gains made were not eroded with the introduction of the Electronic Transfer Levy (E-levy). 

The E-levy currently makes people pay a 1.5 per cent levy on transactions exceeding a daily cumulative GHS100, but the Government has announced that effective 2023, it would reduce the rate to one per cent and remove the threshold. 
Mr Berkowitz cautioned against any move that would negatively affect growth in the mobile money ecosystem and asked the Government to capitalise on the opportunities in the MoMo money space to support economic growth. 

He also asked the Government and various regulatory bodies to put in place, policy measures that would support financial innovations from the private sector and improve the health insurance sector – another area for financial inclusion growth.  

The Senior Analytics Specialist said: “The purpose is for financial services to improve people’s lives and to aid them in earning money better and protecting themselves and being resilient in managing liquidity challenges.” 
Mr John Kumah, a Deputy Minister of Finance, who spoke at the launch of the survey report, said the findings showed that, “Mobile Money is a game changer in deepening inclusion and reducing financial exclusion.” 

Mr Kumah said: “Ghana has the lowest financial exclusion at four per cent down from 44 per cent in 2010 as compared to South Africa (six per cent), Nigeria (35 per cent), Cameroon (36 per cent), Togo (40 per cent), Tanzania (36 per cent) and Namibia (22 per cent).” 

He said financial inclusion remained a priority of the Government, hence, the development of the National Financial Inclusion and Development Strategy (NFIDS), which is aimed at increasing financial services access to help create economic opportunities and lower poverty. 

He also said the Government would use the survey report as a benchmark for future reference to develop evidence-based policies and chart the way forward for higher financial inclusion.

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