The news that mobile money transactions have seen a resurgence following a reduction of the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy) is a positive sign for the country’s digital economy.
Mobile money services are growing faster than expected worldwide – especially in Africa, where the number of registered mobile money accounts increased by 13 percent year-on-year; from 1.4 billion in 2021 to 1.6 billion in 2022, with the value of daily transactions hitting US$3.45billion.
However, there were concerns that the nation with the region’s fastest-growing mobile money market could undo all the progress made when the E-levy was initially set at 1.75 percent, and subsequently revised to 1.5 percent and then to 1 percent.
The success of mobile money platforms is vital for the growth of Ghana’s digital economy. With over 13 million Ghanaians using MTN’s platform, for instance, and over 140,000 merchants accepting mobile money payments, the platform has become a key player in the country’s financial ecosystem. Additionally, the platform has over 15,000 point-of-sale (POS) machines across the country that accept mobile money transactions, with 240,000 agents nationwide supporting the ecosystem.
This demonstrates how mobile money has become an essential part of the domestic financial landscape. It is safe to say that the rise of mobile money services has been the most important tool in the journey toward 100 percent financial inclusion.
However, for mobile money and the wider digital finance ecosystem to truly thrive, this Paper is of the view that there must be a collaborative effort from all stakeholders.
Policymakers also need to recognize the importance of mobile money services and create an enabling environment for their growth. This includes reviewing regulations that may impede the growth of mobile money services, such as taxes or levies which could make the service less accessible for the average Ghanaian.
We also believe that mobile network operators and fintech companies must continue to innovate and expand their offerings to ensure the mobile money ecosystem remains competitive and meets the evolving needs of customers.
Customers must also play an active role in the mobile money ecosystem’s growth. This means using mobile money services regularly and responsibly, protecting their personal information and account details, and reporting any fraudulent activity. It is also essential for customers to provide feedback to their mobile money providers on areas for improvement, as this will help drive innovation and ensure that the service remains relevant.
With the total transaction value in the digital payments segment projected to reach US$9.46trillion in 2023, it is essential that everyone – particularly policymakers – play their part to ensure Ghana is a winner in the segment.