A new study by US-based research firm, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) indicates the value of mobile wallet and other digital finance transactions accounted for a whopping 82 per cent of Ghana’s GDP for the year 2020.
The report, titled “Five Strategies for Mobile-Payment Banking in Africa” also noted that Ghana and Kenya accounted for a huge chunk of the staggering value of mobile transactions of between US$15 trillion and US$20 trillion for the year 2020.
Meanwhile, 86 per cent of Kenya’s GDP was also held in mobile transactions, particularly mobile money.
Although Kenya has a bigger mobile money market, the World Bank has recognized Ghana as the fastest-growing mobile money market in Africa in the past five years.
Bank of Ghana’s “Summary of Economic and Financial Data in March 2021,” indicates that in 2020 alone, the value of mobile money transactions alone reached GHC569 billion.
The number of active mobile money wallets rose from 14.7 million in February 2020 to 17.5 million in February 2021, while the number of active agents rose from 235,000 to 465,000.
Mobile money transactions in total per month rose to 295 million from 193 million in February 2021, while the total value per month rose to $11.5 billion per month from $5 billion per month in February 2020.
The year 2020 saw a big boost in digital finance transactions in Ghana because of Covid-19, and it has since been sustained with the introduction of GHQR Code and the government Ghana.gov platforms which enables citizens to access all government services online and pay digitally.
All the digital finance platforms, particularly mobile money, have been linked to the Ghana.gov platform to make it possible for people to pay for government services conveniently.
As of July 14, 2020, the Ghana.gov platform had recorded some 624,000 registered users and had processed over 5.8 million transactions, worth some GHS20.4 billion.
Meanwhile, the individual players such as MTN, Vodafone Cash, Zeepay and other equally reported exponential growth in the volumes and values of their mobile money transactions amid the pandemic.
Again, the various FinTechs took advantage of the lockdown period to design services that enable Ghanaians to shop and pay for food and other items online and their purchases are delivered to their homes. These services have also been maintained since.
Meanwhile, in Kenya, the almighty M-Pesa mobile money service attracted one million users in the first nine months when the service was launched. In 2009, M-Pesa savings accounts were introduced, and within three (3) months 14m accounts were set up. By January 2021, M-Pesa had reached 66 million mobile money active accounts.
In 2020, the total of mobile money transactions was marked by a 20% rise from $40 billion translating to an average of $140 million transactions on mobile phones daily between January and December 2020 in that country.
In January 2021, the value of mobile money payments through mobile money agents stood at $5.8 billion representing a 58.7% increase from the $3.6 billion recorded in January 2020.
Mobile money is an integral aspect of financial inclusion, particularly in Africa. Hence, the statistics imply a wider coverage of Ghana and Kenya’s population in the financial inclusion net in recent years as a result of the availability of mobile money services.
Statistics may also imply reduced patronage of traditional banking services such as cheque payments, cash deposits/withdrawals, etc. This is especially so in cases where traditional banking customers would rather opt to transact business with the more convenient mobile money kiosks spread around in our communities.
Banks are somehow responding to this threat. The majority of them now partner with Mobile money service providers. They offer services that link customer accounts with their mobile money accounts to offer ease in customer transactions across the board.
It would be interesting to see how the future spans out for the financial services sector with regards to mobile money versus traditional financial institutions