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Business News of Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Source: B&FT

Mobile money transactions hit GHC35.4bn

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The penetration of mobile money in the country has seen an astronomical rise for the fourth year running with last year’s value of transaction reaching GHC35.4billion, an increment of more than 216 percent over the previous year, data seen by the B&FT has shown.

In 2014 the three telecom operators (Airtel, Tigo and MTN) engaged in mobile money were able to do transactions worth about GH?11.2billion across the country.

Last year’s transactional value was recorded on the back of more than 260 million transactions in a market that has since seen a new entrant in the form of Vodafone Cash, powered by the namesake mobile operator.

The value of mobile money transactions when put into perspective is just GH?5.85billion shy of the total deposit liabilities of the 29 banks as at the end of last year, a figure that is likely to be surpassed by the mobile operators this year.

The surge in mobile money usage shows the vital role telecom companies are playing to advance the central bank’s cashlite economy agenda, and also ensure that the push for more financial inclusion is brought into the hands of millions of Ghanaians.

Industry watchers say the growth of mobile money will allow millions of people who are otherwise excluded from the formal financial system to perform financial transactions relatively cheaply, securely, and reliably.
In an interview with the B&FT, Derek Barnabas Laryea-Research and Communications Manager of the Ghana Chamber of Telecoms, said the growth in mobile within the period can be attributed to the central bank’s enabling regulatory framework, which is creating an open and level playing field together with mobile operators’ commitment to boost mobile money services.

“This growth and scale are positive signals for the industry, because it demonstrates a higher level of customer trust and mobile money’s capacity to digitise a growing amount of capital.

“Although policy improvements are still required to ensure mobile financial services reach the full addressable market and achieve total financial inclusion, the results from the year under review is nothing short of creditable from all players within the ecosystem,” he added.

The mobile money sub-sector is set to experience further growth and interoperability, which will enable cross-network financial transactions and is one of the key priority areas aside from new partnership models emerging in an effort to scale merchant payments and accelerate the transition from cash to digital forms of payment.?

Recently, Ecobank Ghana and Kopo Kopo, a company focused on building merchant networks for mobile payments, launched a new initiative called “PayWith”, a service that enables merchants to accept mobile money payments at the point of sale by giving merchants a single account through which to accept mobile money payments.