Financial inclusion has seen significant growth – report

Financial Services Demand-Side Survey
Dr. John Kumah, Deputy Finance Minister, at the 2021 Financial Services Demand-Side Survey Report launch

Ghana’s financial inclusion has seen significant growth in recent years, according to the 2021 Financial Services Demand-Side Survey Report. The survey found that 96 percent of the adult population in Ghana have access to financial services, exceeding the targetted 85 percent for 2023.

This marks a significant increase from the 41 percent reported in the 2010 FinScope Survey and 58 percent reported in the Financial Inclusion Insight Survey of 2015.

The Demand-Side Survey Report offers a comprehensive understanding of access, usage and quality of formal and informal financial services and products among the Ghanaian adult population. It found that 95 percent of adults in Ghana use a combination of formal and informal mechanisms to manage their financial needs, a significant increase from the 40.7 percent reported in 2010.

Speaking at the 2021 Financial Services Demand-Side Survey Report’s launch, Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. John Kumah, noted the FinScope Survey’s importance in shaping policymakers’ understanding of financial perceptions, attitudes and behaviour in Ghana.

“Financial inclusion is a priority for this government under the National Financial Inclusion and Development Strategy (NFIDS), which aims at increasing financial inclusion from 58 percent in 2018 to 85 percent by 2023; thereby helping to create economic opportunities and lower poverty,” the deputy minister said.

“It is evident that the availability and appropriate usage of data in today’s world is vital in any effective decision-making process. As it stands, our inability to efficiently sustain advancements in financial inclusion is predominantly due to a lack of both supply-side and demand-side data.

“Therefore, credible information and analysis on the financial lives of our people needs to be established to provide solid evidence for both policymaking and developing appropriate financial products, which is usually through household surveys like the FinScope Survey,” Dr. Kumah stated.

The Report also found that only 0.6 percent of adults rely exclusively on banking services, down from 15.2 percent in 2010; and that 1 percent of the adult population relies only on informal mechanisms, a decrease from 15.3 percent in 2010.

These findings suggest that mobile money has played a significant role in the growth of financial inclusion in Ghana. In addition, the report found that elderly individuals with lower levels of education and seniors aged 36 to 60 are more likely to be excluded from traditional financial services, but still utilise other formal, non-bank solutions.

Overall, credit consumption remains low in Ghana; with only 13 percent of adults having taken out a loan in the past year. This is largely due to a lack of collateral and the high cost of borrowing. However, the Report found that access to credit has improved significantly, with 53 percent of adults reporting that they have the ability to borrow from a financial institution or mobile money provider… up from 15 percent in 2010.

The Report also identified several barriers to financial inclusion in Ghana: including a lack of awareness and understanding of financial products, limited access to financial institutions, and a lack of trust in the financial system.

Dr. Kumah emphasised the crucial role that the World Bank has played in the financial ecosystem’s development in Ghana, stating that: “Ghana’s financial inclusion journey would not have come this far without the immense support of the Work Bank”.

Undeniably, this Report will be useful for regulators and financial service providers to comprehensively understand the reality on the ground; and it highlights barriers that are preventing people from using the formal financial system. The survey covered both national and regional representative samples of 5,156 from all 16 regions across the country, and targetted respondents of 15 years and above – in line with the United Nation’s definition for adults.

Ghana has the lowest financial exclusion at 4 percent, down from 44 percent in 2010 as compared to some selected African countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo, Tanzania and Namibia.

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