'Redefinition of Ghana's unbanked needed'
Ghana’s unbanked population may need some redefinition since the use of mobile money transfers has contributed to people now using nonconventional banking services, Nii Ampa-Sowa, Chief Investment Officer, Databank Asset Management Services Limited has said.
Mr Ampa-Sowa’s suggestion is in reference to statistics that say about 70 per cent of Ghana’s population is unbanked.
“I also must say that your definition of banking would somewhat change when you are looking at technology and the things that people can access right now,” he told Rodrick Nii Lante on Class91.3fm’s stock market programme ‘Closing Bells’ on Wednesday December 9, 2015.
“So, you’d realise that yes, in other parts of the world this statistic of 70 per cent will not be in places like Kenya because they have mobile money and M-Pesa, which is Safaricom’s mobile money product. It’s very popular over there. A number of telco companies have tried to make some advances in that sense and personally, I’ve come across people, who otherwise will not be doing anything in a bank. I mean if you want to transact any financial service or business with them, they’ll request: ‘Ok pay me through mobile money via my mobile number,’ and it’s easier for them to do that.
“Perhaps this 70 per cent could be redefined a bit if you look at other things such as rural banks and perhaps even mobile phones being used in transacting financial business,” Mr Ampa-Sowa explained.
Mobile telecommunication giant, Vodafone, for instance, on Monday November 7, 2015 extended M-Pesa to Ghana, the 11th Vodafone market across Africa, Asia, and Europe to benefit from the world’s leading mobile money transfer service.
The launch of the service, operating in Ghana under the ‘Vodafone Cash’ brand, follows a successful pilot launched in August 2015, Vodafone said in a statement.
Around 15 million people – approximately 64% of the population of Ghana – do not have bank accounts.
As in other markets, M-Pesa now offers Ghanaians an efficient way to transfer money safely, securely, and conveniently, at home, at work, and on the move.
Vodafone Director of Mobile Money Michael Joseph said: “Vodafone Cash extends the revolution of mobile money to Ghana, liberating our customers from the risks associated with carrying cash at all times. The strong demand for the service, following the pilot launched in August, shows that Ghanaians greatly value the freedom, peace of mind, security, and convenience that M-Pesa offers.”
M-Pesa has continued to see strong, accelerated growth in East Africa during 2015, most notably in Kenya and Tanzania.
Worldwide M-Pesa usage has increased 27% year-on-year to reach 23.4 million active customers across Vodafone Group by 30 September 2015.
M-Pesa customers are served by more than 240,000 agents.
More than 2 billion individual M-Pesa transactions were carried out in the six months to September 2015, up 26% compared to the same period last year.
There are around 665,000 active users of M-Pesa in India, where the service was granted approval in principle by the Reserve Bank of India to establish a payments bank.
Vodafone Albania launched M-Pesa in May 2015, the second Vodafone market in Europe to offer the service.
International money transfers between M-Pesa customers in Kenya and Tanzania were launched in April 2015.
M-Pesa and MTN Mobile Money reached an agreement to enable direct money transfers between their respective customers in seven countries across East Africa.