Usage of financial technology up by 29%
Professor Peter Quartey (right), Director of ISSER and Executive Director of ReFinD, and Professor Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Member of the ReFinD Policy Team and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana and some of the panelists and participants after the event.

Usage of financial technology up by 29%

Mobile money surpassed traditional banking in Ghana, becoming an essential driver of financial inclusion in the country, the Global Findex Database 2021 has indicated.

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Generally, access and usage of financial technology have increased considerably in Ghana, from 29 per cent in 2017 to 68 per cent in 2021, the database revealed.

The 2021 Global Findex Database sampled 1,000 adults in Ghana in the research, although data were collected from about 128,000 adults in 123 economies globally.

The database was aimed at providing a rigorous and multi-dimensional picture of how adults save, borrow, make payments and manage financial risks.

Public forum

The results were revealed in Accra last Thursday (May 4) during a public forum on financial inclusion organised by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) and the World Bank.

The forum was also a platform for independent assessment and discussion of emerging data on the progress of financial inclusion in Ghana. 

Dubbed “Towards Financial Inclusion for All: an analysis of Ghana’s Findex data”, it was also to contribute to advancing the importance of evidence-led policy and industry interventions to deepen financial inclusion in the country.

It was attended by policymakers, commercial services providers, consumer groups and people from academia, and served as the maiden edition of the ISSER Inclusive Finance Development Series (IIFDS), an initiative by ISSER to position African research institutions at the forefront of advancing evidence for the development of inclusive finance.  

It was launched by the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey.

2021 Ghana Findex data

Giving some highlights on the 2021 Ghana Findex data, a Lead Economist in the Development Research Group at the World Bank, Dr Leora Klapper, revealed that 40 per cent of adults in Ghana were most worried about medical expenses than school fees, and money for old age.

She said the database also indicated that 12 per cent of adults borrowed money using a mobile money account, while 37 per cent of adults saved using a mobile money account.

“Nearly four million unbanked adults in Ghana have a mobile phone, and about two million unbanked adults receive agriculture payments in cash, including nearly one million who have a mobile phone,” she added.

Monitoring for inclusion

The Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mrs Elsie Addo Awadzi, called for a unified data architecture to help players in the financial sector to understand the dynamics and to help them to design more appropriate products and services.

“I believe the rollout of the biometric Ghana Card, which is now designated as a single identity card for purposes of financial transactions, holds a lot of promise for promoting a unified data architecture for monitoring and financial inclusion in Ghana,” she said.

She, however, noted that efforts must be made to promote data integrity, data privacy, systems robustness and effective data governance in that regard.

She added that the Bank of Ghana, on its part, had recently implemented a new online reporting and analytics supervisory tool to harmonise data collection from various licence institutions and to help them to improve data analytics and reporting.

Panel discussion

During a hybrid panel discussion, panelists called for a comprehensive database that could be accessible to all.

They explained that such a database would help to promote proper monitoring and evaluation of data in the financial sector.

They also called for strong collaboration between academia and the financial system to advance the financial inclusion agenda.

The panelists were the Director of ISSER and Executive Director of ReFinD Research Initiative, Professor Peter Quartey; the Head of Financial Market and Innovation at the Ministry of Finance, Benjamin Torsah Klu; a Deputy Director at the Payment Systems Department of Bank of Ghana, Clarissa Kuwordor; the Chief Executive Director of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunication, Dr Kenneth Ashibey; and the Global Director of Digital Financial Services, Opportunity International, Dr William Derban.

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