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The Ghanaian diaspora send an estimated two billion dollars home each year. This influx of money is not only having a positive financial impact in the country – it’s also making a real difference to the way people live and work every day.
Much of the change is being driven by the widespread adoption of mobile money, which supports the transfer of cash using basic feature phones. The technology has been accepted across multiple emerging markets and is now available in 85% of countries where less than 20% of the population have access to a formal financial institution according to the mobile operators industry body, GSMA.
Ghana has emerged as one of the leading countries in Africa for digital financial services and innovation. At the heart of this change is the adoption of mobile money, which has played a pivotal role in driving the country toward a ‘cash-lite’ economy with increased financial inclusion.
Look no further than the central bank for the results. Last year, the value of deposits and withdrawals by Ghanaians using mobile money in place of traditional banking almost doubled, according to data published by the Bank of Ghana. Mobile money is also gaining traction in the retail sector, with the value of mobile transactions doubling from 78.5 billion cedis to 155.8 billion cedis in 2017 alone.
At WorldRemit, our product and engineering teams are always seeking new innovations to better serve all our customers. As a result, we have expanded our network to connect more than 130 million mobile money accounts worldwide – with WorldRemit handling nearly three quarters of all remittances sent to mobile money accounts.
Of the transactions sent to Ghana via WorldRemit, over 60% are sent directly to mobile money accounts. This is having a transformative impact for our customers and the industry at large, with those who may have previously been unable to access a bank account can now manage their finances and receive remittances directly. Our customers have used the remittances they receive to help start their own business, pay school fees or help cover utility bills. All without touching cash.
Although the sector has come a long way there is still much further to go. Cash-based receive methods remain the norm, but when recipients opt to retain their money in digital form, the cost of sending remittances to a mobile money account is, on average, 50% lower than using traditional channels according to the GSMA.
We are proud to be utilising technology that not only reduces the cost of sending money home, but empowers those who use it.
This article was first published in the Tech in Ghana Conference London 2018 brochure by WorldRemit.com
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