The ICT sub sector has been identified as the major driver of growth in the first quarter of 2020, expanding by 77 per cent year-on-year. This was revealed by economists at Standard Bank’s June 2020 Flash Note of the African Markets Revealed (AMR) report. According to the note, the service sector influenced largely by the expansions of the ICT sub-sector, accounted for the growth of the Ghanaian economy in the first three months.
“The Ghanaian economy grew by 4.9% year-on-year in Q1:20, which was higher than our expectation of 4.1% year-on-year. Interestingly, the services sector was the major driver of growth during this period; accounting for 73% of the expansion. The ICT sub sector was a major driver of growth in Q1:20, expanding by 77% year-on-year despite only accounting for around 3% of the economy”, the report noted.
The report further noted that the expansion of the ICT sub-sector is expected to go on unimpeded due to the level of data penetration in the country coupled with the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ghana has the second highest data penetration rate in Sub-Saharan Africa and the fastest growing mobile money market on the continent. The tech start-up scene is also growing rapidly in the country. Given the limited impact on this sector during the pandemic, we expect growth in the ICT sector to remain unhindered in subsequent quarters”, the report said.
Most sub-sectors of the service sector have fortified their digital platforms to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and meet the expectations of their customers. Banks especially have been at the forefront of this digital drive with innovative online platforms to make banking seamless.
Stanbic Bank, for instance, introduced the Enhanced Virtual Assistance (EVA) platform to improve its customers digital experience, leading to an ultimate customer satisfaction without the risk of exposure to the corona virus. EVA is a banking chat robot (chatbot) that is powered by Artificial Intelligence. It provides account opening, profile management services and general banking enquiries. Through the platform, potential customers can open accounts instantly on social media channels such as Facebook and WhatsApp. These and many more innovations in the provision of essential services amid the COVID-19 pandemic is what according to the AMR report is driving the growth of the economy.
The African Markets Report is a monthly report issued by the Standard Bank Group, parent company of Stanbic Bank Ghana and focuses on the economic and financial outlook of African countries. The report also reviews current economic situations and makes short to medium-term predictions about African economies.