‘You cannot digitize the economy when Ghanaians lack understanding of the systems’-Economist
Chartered economist Mr. Emmanuel Darkwa has opined that for Ghana to benefit from the digital agenda of the government, citizens must understand and be familiar with the systems.
The economist said there would be no tangible benefits if citizens were unable to appreciate the systems of digitization.
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, highlighted challenges facing the Ghanaian economic and social space, which the Akufo-Addo government used digitization to solve.
Dr. Bawumia said one of the biggest problems which was impeding financial sector development in the country was financial exclusion. He said most of the population were excluded from fully participating in the financial system because they were unable to open and operate bank and financial services accounts – a problem he said reinforced the dominance of cash payments.
“It was also not possible to send money to customers of different telecom companies. So we asked the questions: why can’t we make it possible to send mobile money across different telecom companies and also why can’t the mobile money account function like a bank account ‘by making it interoperable with bank accounts? The answer to these questions was the implementation of the ground-breaking mobile money interoperability system .”
“Thanks to the Bank of Ghana and Ghana Interbank Payments and Settlement System (GhIPSS) the mobile money payments interoperability has made it possible to transfer money seamlessly across different mobile money providers and between bank accounts and mobile wallets.”
“It has also solved the major problem of the over 70% of people not having bank accounts. Today, because of mobile money interoperability (MMI), you can transfer money from a customer of one telco to a customer of a different telco and also make payments from your mobile money account into any bank account and you can receive payments from any bank account into your mobile money account. You can receive interest on savings, acquisition of loan (e.g. qwick loan) on your mobile wallets. As a result of MMI over 90% of the adult population now have access to a “bank account”.”
But Mr. Amoah Darkwah questioned how many Ghanaians understand the system and how they would embrace the technology.
He further quizzed the number of Ghanaians who knew that they could purchase waakye and other items with QR Codes.
”Even among the elites, how many of them know they can use QR Code to buy. I believe that in as much as it is a brilliant idea, the people are known to it and must carry along with it. That is why effective communication and education is very key to the digitalization processes.
How many Ghanaians know they could sit from the comfort of their homes and apply for digital tools and get their drivers license without having to use ‘Goro boys’? If we embark on education, it will drive Ghanaians along with the digitization agenda.”