Although the number of mobile money agents have increased over the past years, a Senior Economist with the World Bank Group, Michael Geiger has indicated the need for a further expansion of the agent distribution network.
The number of active agents increased from 5,900 in 2012 to 393,000 in 2018. However, only 180,000 are said to be active.
Speaking at the launch of the 4th Ghana Economic Update on Friday, June 14, Geiger said, “…this expansion of agents offered users more cash-in and cash-out opportunities and increased the overall convenience of using mobile money.
“Ghana is the fastest growing mobile money market in Africa. The total number of mobile voice subscriptions grew by 39 percent from GHc25.6 million to GHc 37.4 million between 2012 and 2017. However registered mobile money accounts increased six-fold between 2012 and 2017, from 3.8 million to 23.9 million. Active mobile money accounts increased even faster, from 345,434 to 11.2 million between 2012 and 2017.”
As a result, the number and value of mobile money transactions skyrocketed since 2012 to 982 million and GHc156 billion by 2017, respectively. The value of transactions carried out on money platforms in 2018 reached GHc 233 billion according to the Bank of Ghana’s (BoG) latest statistics covering electronic payments. The volume of mobile money transactions stood at 1,027,794,484; the first time over one billion transactions have been recorded in a single calendar year.
Kenyan mobile telecom company Safaricom, innovated mobile money in Africa when it established its M-PESA service in 2007 and its customers ran up to two million within a year (2008) and reached more than 15 million by 2013, doing some three million transactions a day which translated into about US$ 2,700 million per month. Mobile money is greatly and successfully increasing financial security and local economic activities in most impoverished communities.
” The market share in Ghana is very skewed with one provider (MTN Ghana) accounting for over 80% of the market. While registered mobile money customers and usage increased in tandem with mobile phone penetration, they remain significantly below mobile money phone ownership, demonstrating that there is space for mobile money to contribute even more to financial inclusion” Geiger added.
Mobile money is a real example of innovation that has been brought to scale to make a difference in the lives of millions of people in developing countries. This service allows people or customers to transfer and install money put on their cell phones. Mobile money is a simple phone text which is cheap and efficient. It enables customers to pay bills, receive wages and receive or send money to family members and love ones.
Currently, 2.5% people in the world don’t have bank accounts but the majority have access to cell phones. Today, more than 150 mobile money services have been launched throughout the world.
Mobile phone penetration has created opportunities for the expansion of financial services and increased the role of non-financial institutions.
Digital innovations play a key role for a more financially inclusive economy. Mobile money is an electronic cash management system that is efficient and secured that makes life so much easier. This management accepts payments, tracks sales and scales business all from one place. Mobile money services available in Ghana include MTN Mobile Money, Airteltigo Cash and Vodafone Cash.
Technology alone is not enough to guarantee success. However, in applying technology to basic financial transfers and payments, digitization is helping to reduce the cost of sending money internationally, bringing the countries that use it, Ghana inclusive, closer to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 10.C as well as contributing to the achieving of other UN SDGs, such as reduction of poverty and even gender equality in countries where there are still societal restrictions to women operating formal bank accounts.