The volume of mobile money transactions in the country jumped by more than 40 per cent from 982 million to 1.4 billion transactions between 2017 and 2018, Dr Maxwell Opoku-Afari, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana has said.
To this end, Dr Opoku-Afari said Ghana’s progress in migrating to electronic payments has been phenomenal.
“In less than a decade, we have increased the number of financially-included persons from 41 per cent in 2014 to 58 per cent in 2017, and most of the jump emanated from mobile money patronage. For instance, the volume of mobile money transactions jumped by more than 40 per cent from 982 million to 1.4 billion transactions between 2017 and 2018,” he said in his keynote address at the 2019 Digital Banking Summit held in Accra on Monday, 19 August 2019.
Speaking on the theme: “Digitisation of the Banking Sector – En route to a Cashless Africa”, Dr Opoku-Afari noted that with the advent of technology, conservative banking operations has given way to dynamism and competition, as innovative financial services and products are constantly being churned out.
He said currently, banks are not only competing among themselves for financial services but also with nontraditional providers such as financial technology companies (fintechs).
These developments, Dr Opoku-Afari said, raise important issues on banks’ business models that would appropriately deal with the increased levels of competition in the industry.
“Faced with these challenges, banks are adopting collaborative strategies and leveraging on opportunities to partner new payment service providers or existing players in the delivery of financial services,” he stated adding that “in the mobile money space, financial technology companies, banks and mobile money operators have collaborated to introduce value-added services such as digital credit, savings and investment, online payment platforms, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services, mobile banking services, Quick Response (QR) codes, Point of Sale (POS) devices, termination of inward remittances into mobile wallets or bank accounts, and agency banking services.”
He noted that although digitisation provides great potential for the banking sector to offer products and services that hitherto was not regarded as feasible the transition to a digital economy requires re-orientation of the sector to meet consumer demand.
Dr Opoku-Afari stated further that although Ghana has made an enormous stride in achieving a cashless society, the next key area is to enhance public confidence.
He said: “Despite the successes achieved so far, some consumers still lack awareness and confidence in electronic payments. In this direction, the various stakeholders are undertaking continued consumer education and financial literacy to build confidence and help in fraud reduction.
“GhIPSS and stakeholders in the payment industry are also building a fund to support consumer education. Also, on a regular basis, payment service providers are educating the public on how to avoid scams in the use of the newly deployed payment products and services.”
The Bank of Ghana, he noted, is fully committed to the cash-lite agenda which ties in with the Government of Ghana’s digital economy agenda.
“So far, we have seen the introduction of the biometric national identification system and the digital addressing system which are all supportive of our quest to drive digitised financial transactions. As the central bank, we will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of these initiatives. Of course, there will be challenges, but with a firm commitment, we will eventually reduce the dominance of cash in transactions and improve the efficiency and security of payments for a more inclusive society,” Dr Opoku-Afari concluded.