Economy still cash-driven despite mobile money success – BoG

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Even though the rollout of the mobile money platform since a decade ago has been largely successful, as it has widely gained acceptance, most transactions are still cash driven, a situation Bank of Ghana’s Director and Head of Payment Systems, Dr. Settor Amediku, says requires more collaboration of both the regulator and players to improve on.

Speaking on behalf of Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, at the MTN Ghana’s stakeholder forum on mobile money themed: ‘Digitising payments in Ghana; a collaborative effort for success’, Mr. Amediku said the dominance of hard cash in the system shows the adoption of digital payments remains uneven, hence, the need for improvement to move the frontier towards financial inclusiveness through broad-based digital payments.

According to him, such collaborative efforts have fostered greater economies of scale through resource pooling of infrastructure and minimised the cost of testing new technologies, which have helped accelerate digitisation of the value chain for both merchants and users in some jurisdictions, especially Norway, where about 96 percent of payments are done digitally.

He said the central bank has taken steps to ensure Ghanaians sparingly use cash in their transactions through the consolidation of ATM networks, the introduction of the Cheque Codeline Clearing, Instant Pay services, the mobile money interoperability platform, and the Universal QR Code services, all part of the collaborative strategy aimed at eliminating fragmentation and duplication.

“These collaborative initiatives have provided open and fair access to a shared payment infrastructure for banks and non-banks. It also serves as a good example of a strategy of collaborative competition which has been shown to increase scale and widen the scope of mobile money operations,” he said.

Mr. Amediku further stated that, the bank, as part of the policy to provide a safe financial system, has collaborated with the financial services industry to establish a financial intelligence platform to collate, analyse and disseminate real-time information on cyber threats and trends to enhance the detective capabilities of the industry.

For him, the advancement of digital payments within the Ghanaian economy hinges strongly on effective collaboration between the regulator, stakeholders, market players, and the end-users of such products.

Adding her comments, Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank, Mansa Nettey, who is also the Paresident of the Ghana Association of Bankers said if all stakeholders in Ghana in the digital payment system together contribute to the evolving landscape, it will sooner than later have a world-class system that the industry can be proud of.

For her, judging by the progress the country has made so far, it is abundantly clear that all the players in Ghana’s digital ecosystem need each other.

“Telcos and fintechs could leverage the resilient anti-money laundering expertise, credit and market risk capabilities of banks in scooping and mitigating risks related to financial transaction. Similarly, banks have a lot to learn from the agility and speed of execution that telcos and fintechs are known for” she said.

The MoMo stakeholder forum is part of activities for the celebration of the 2021 edition of MTN Ghana MoMo month which was launched on Thursday, August 5, 2021.

First instituted in 2012, the month-long celebration has for the past nine years been instrumental in driving awareness, influencing policy decisions, and deepening the adoption and acceptance of e-money nationwide.

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