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Massive Progress Ghana beats Kenya, Tanzania in World Bank report on Mobile Money inclusion strides

While Kenya and Tanzania have been previously lauded as mobile money success stories, the survey demonstrates new technology can be effective in other African markets such as Rwanda and Ghana.

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The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor - CGAP has released its first ever analyisis  offers into mobile money usage in Ghana and Rwanda, where in both countries 17% of adults have active mobile money accounts.

The nationally representative survey of adults provided interesting insights into how many people are using mobile financial services and for what reason. While Kenya and Tanzania have been previously lauded as mobile money success stories, the survey demonstrates new technology can be effective in other African markets such as Rwanda and Ghana.

The findings show that mobile financial services are proving to be critical to connect people in rural areas or living on less than $2.50 per day with formal financial services. In Rwanda, for example, the survey found that 61% of active mobile money users were located in rural areas, while 72% live on less than $2.50 per day. In these cases, mobile money is proving to be some adults’ first inroad into financial inclusion.

 

Claudia McKay, Senior Financial Sector Specialist at CGAP noted: “There is a ripe market for products that make it easier, faster and cheaper for people to conduct financial transactions. Now it’s a matter of designing products that fit into the everyday lives of people, especially the poor, and that have a strong business case for providers.”

Key findings from the report include:

• 17% of Ghanaian adults are active users of Mobile Money. The report suggests that high banking penetration has likely played a role in Ghana’s adoption of Mobile Money: 34% of adults already have a bank account, and 45% of those individuals access it through mobile apps or the internet. 

• Ghana’s active Mobile Money user-base has more than doubled in one year. CGAP expects Ghana’s positive progress to continue especially since new Mobile Money regulations were passed in July 2015 which have awakened policymakers of the critical role that Mobile Money plays in driving financial inclusion.

• Ghana outranks Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania on four indicators of "mobile-readiness". According to CGAP Ghana is “the most digital financial services-ready country in Africa” when it comes to the key elements required for successful adoption: 92% of adults have the required ID necessary to open an account and 91% of Ghanaians already own a mobile phone (compared to only 74% and 72% in Kenya and Tanzania, respectively).

• Ghana’s Mobile Money users are better-off than their African peers. 60% of Ghana’s active Mobile Money account holders live in urban areas, and only 19% live on less than $2.50 per day compared to 72% in Rwanda. 

The report by CGAP also offers recommendations for driving further usage of Mobile Money by digitizing payments that are commonly conducted in cash, such as insurance and savings. These together would make Ghana one of the worlds most innovative and successful Mobile Money markets in the world.

Rwanda Highlights:

  • 23% of adults have a mobile money account; 

  • 17% of adults in Rwanda have active mobile money accounts;

  • 61% of active mobile money account holders are located in rural areas, while 72% lived on less than $2.50 per day;

  • 25% of active mobile money users pay bills through their accounts;

  • 71% of adults pay for insurance, but only 0.1% do so via mobile money.

The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor is a global partnership of 34 leading organizations that seek to advance financial inclusion. CGAP develops innovative solutions through practical research and active engagement with financial service providers, policy makers, and funders to enable approaches at scale. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP combines a pragmatic approach to responsible market development with an evidence-based advocacy platform to increase access to the financial services the poor need to improve their lives.

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