A World Bank report has tipped Ghana to be the fastest growing mobile money market in Africa.
According to the report, mobile phone penetration has created opportunities for expansion of financial services and also increased the role of non-financial institutions.
The 45-paged Report titled “4th Ghana Economic Update”, focused on Financial Sector Development and Financial Inclusion.
The report acknowledged that despite challenges in building a more financially inclusive economy, there is a significant growth in the number of financial access points over the past five years.
It noted that the growth is primarily related to the spread of mobile money and government facilitation of interoperability across payment instruments by establishing a mobile money switching solution.
It also revealed that Ghana’s annual economic growth continued on a strong path at 6.3 per cent in 2018, although at a slower pace than the 8.1 per cent in 2017.
According to the Report, this trend is led largely by a strong growth in mining, petroleum, agriculture and sustained expansion in forestry and logging.
The report projected Ghana’s economic growth to increase to 7.6 percent in 2019, driven by both the oil and non-oil sectors.
It indicated that growth in the non-oil sector is expected to accelerate Policy interventions in agriculture and industry to vitalize the productive sectors.
The report noted that despite the rapid growth of the financial sector in Ghana since 2010, rural access to formal financial accounts is still low in some regions of Ghana.
It noted that in addition, women were less financially included than men in Ghana.
In support of Government’s efforts to enhance financial inclusion the report made five recommendations; digitising Government payments and utility payments, linking informal financial channels with formal financial, and promoting agent banking.
It also recommended that improved financial programmes could stimulate demand for services as it would arm the financial consumers with information needed to identify the benefits and risks of financial products.
The World Bank Country Director Dr Henry Kerali, said Ghana’s economy has had a turnaround over the past two years.
He said it would be important to leverage the momentum that the fiscal responsibility law has created and ensure that fiscal sustainability is maintained across economic and political circles, adding that more domestic resource mobilisation would be key to this effort.
Dr Kerali noted that the theme for this years 4th Ghana Economic Update, “Enhancing Financial Inclusion” is timely; considering the many developments that have occurred in Ghana’s financial sector over the past years.
He congratulated the Government and the Bank of Ghana on taking courageous steps to address the various challenges faced by the financial sector.
The Head of Fiscal Risk Unit at the Ministry of Finance, Dr Mawuli Gaddah, said the ministry would use the report as an important reference material and take the policy recommendations proposed into account in their daily policy analysis and implementation.
He said as Ghana seeks to forge economic and social partnership with development partners, they regard such engagements as an important part of their development agenda.