The Bank of Ghana is making efforts toward financial inclusion to promote economic resilience in the country, the bank’s second deputy Governor, Elsie Addo Awadzi, has said.
The bank, under the National Financial Inclusion and Development Strategy, is working to increase access to affordable financial products and services – particularly for individuals, small and micro-businesses and informal sector players, she said.
Ms. Addo Awadzi noted that the bank has provided the necessary regulatory environment to support banking, remittance and payment services for individuals, micro and small businesses and informal sector players to increase financial inclusion in the country.
“We have witnessed immense digital transformation in financial services these last few years,” Awadzi said in her keynote address at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER)-World Bank Public Engagement on 2021 Ghana Findex Data and launch of ISSER Inclusive Finance Development Series.
Ms. Awadzi stated that the credit reporting system and collateral registry system regulated by the Bank of Ghana also promote access to credit, even for small borrowers. Furthermore, the bank’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlements Systems (GhIPSS), invested in mobile money interoperability infrastructure to support digital financial services, resulting in a significant increase of mobile money usage in the country.
To monitor progress in financial inclusion, she emphasised the importance of high-quality, consistent, reliable, accessible, and connected data. According to Ms. Awadzi, data helps identify gaps in inclusion, design appropriate evidence-based interventions, and monitor their implementation and effectiveness.
She highlighted the World Bank Global Findex Database as a comprehensive and authoritative data source on access to financial services in the developing world. She stressed that the newly-implemented Bank of Ghana online reporting and analytics supervisory tool (ORASS) addresses supply-side data constraints and enhances reporting capacity.
Therefore, a unified data architecture is required to connect existing databases for effective and consistent policy formulation, regulation; and designing appropriate financial products and services to further enhance financial inclusion.
Ms. Awadzi also mentioned roll-out of the biometric Ghana Card, which is now designated as the single identity card for financial transactions, to help track users across the whole spectrum of financial services, facilitate demand and supply-side data collection and analysis.
The importance of data integrity, data privacy, system robustness and effective data governance cannot be overstated, and therefore it will require expertise at every point to identify and address issues that will promote more financial inclusion in Ghana.
She noted that the country’s progress in financial inclusion is commendable, and with continuous effort the bank will achieve its goal – which is to promote financial inclusion in Ghana’s economic and financial resilience.
“Whether through introduction of the post office bank system in the 1960s or the licencing regime for rural and community banks in the 1970s, financial services have gradually been brought closer to the doorsteps of every Ghanaian and every business,” the second deputy Governor said.