The report, Global Findex Database launched on Tuesday shows that seven million Ghanaians do not have a bank account; indicating the country’s formal banking industry is still struggling with the challenge of decreasing the unbanked population.
The Global Lead of the Inclusive Markets Team of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), Stephen Rasmussen told JoyBusiness these figures opens up the need for industry players in the banking sector to produce packages that meet the needs of those below the income bracket.
He believes recent data on the number of unbanked population in Ghana set out as an opportunity for banks to partner other institutions in the financial service value chain.
“It’s not that banks are going to solve the problems by themselves or mobile money or fintechs, it’s rather going to be partnerships across that like what we see with the banks and insurance sector. There would be a disaggregation of banks in the long run,” he told JoyBusiness.
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Speaking to JoyBusiness at the sidelines of the Findex report launch, the CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Kenneth Ashigbey said this development is very worrying especially at a period where the government is encouraging financial institutions and individuals to run a cashless society.
Mr Ashigbey stressed the need for more platforms and open forums to discuss ways to integrate the seven million excluded Ghanaians and how to run the much needed cashless system.
He said, “We can’t use 50-year-old frameworks to regulate an industry that is moving at such a fast pace. We need a new set of policymakers and regulations which will do more of a guiding of the process to ensure that confidence is assured in a way that will not affect innovation and change,” he said.
The report further shows that 30 per cent of adults have FI account and 37 to 40 per cent, mobile money accounts in 2014 while 20 per cent of adults had FI accounts in 2017.
Citing the barriers to account ownership in Ghana, 73 per cent of unbanked adults cited insufficient funds as a barrier as compared to 63 per cent of unbanked adults in developing countries.
Also, 27 percent of unbanked adults reported cost as a barrier. The Global Findex Database was collected from 144 countries including Ghana.
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Acceleration in financial inclusion
According to the World Bank, 1.2 billion adults have gained access to a bank account since 2011, with 500 million of these getting their first account within the last three years.
It credits the rise of digital banking, and smartphones in particular, for this acceleration in financial inclusion.
The mobile money industry processes $1 billion a day through 276 mobile money deployments in 90 countries, according to GSMA, a global association of mobile network operators.