The government of Ghana has launched several initiatives to advance financial inclusion and the country’s transition to cashless payment.
The initiatives include a national strategy for financial inclusion and development, a policy for digital financial services and the Cash-Lite roadmap.
Regarding the national strategy for financial inclusion and development, the government collaborated with the World Bank to roll out the plan that seeks to raise financial inclusion from current 58% to 85% by 2023. Achieving this will create economic opportunities and reduce poverty, according to the strategy.
Ghana also partnered with the Consultative Group to Help the Poor (CGAP) to develop and introduce the digital financial services policy.
According to the country’s finance ministry, the new policy builds on existing technological gains to “create a resilient, inclusive and innovative digital ecosystem” that contributes to social development, a robust economy and a thriving private sector.
In partnership with the United Nations Better Than Cash Alliance, Ghana has also introduced the Cash-Lite roadmap which it said offers concrete steps to build an inclusive digital payments ecosystem. Targets for the roadmap include better access to financial services, more effective regulation and supervision, and the promotion of consumer protection.
The ministry of finance also revealed the establishment of a new digital payments coordination unit to stimulate the implementation of its key actions geared towards financial inclusion.
Ghana’s Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta said: “Central to the transformation vision is the establishment of a robust identification and verification system established on international standards and able to support efficient e-government service delivery and a viable e-commerce environment in which individuals and businesses can participate for greater productivity and economic development. As payments provide the vital interface between these services and economic entities, the digitisation of payments falls within this vision of e-Transformation.”
A Diagnostic Report of Ghana’s financial ecosystem by global consulting firm BFA noted:
“Certain critical elements for a shift to digital payments are already in place, including good connectivity, growing financial infrastructure, an enabling regulatory environment, and strong government buy-in. There are, however, certain challenges on this journey, including lack of interoperability of key payment instruments, strong consumer preference for cash, and business preferences for cheques, among others.”