Indigenous banks are being urged to leverage technology to reduce the number of unbanked Ghanaians in the system. According to the CEO of the Universal Merchant Bank Nana Dwemoh Benneh the time is right to tackle this long-standing issue within the financial sector.
According to the World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), only 58 percent of Ghana’s adult population had access to formal financial services in 2015.
Meanwhile, the National Financial Inclusion and Development Strategy, a document developed by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with financial sector regulators and other key stakeholders, states that by 2017, only 1,491 bank branches were in Ghana, put in other words, there were 8.6 banks per 100,000 adults during that time, while there were about 11.5 automated teller machines (ATMs) per 100,000 adults.
Ultimately, the strategy seeks to increase financial inclusion from 58 percent of Ghana’s adult population to 85 percent by 2023.
In an interview with Citi News on the prospects of Ghana’s Banking sector, the CEO of the Universal Merchant Bank Nana Dwemoh Benneh noted that the time was right for local banks to leverage technology to reach the unbanked population while also taking advantage of the emerging opportunities on the continent.
“I think we have a unique opportunity at this particular moment to take advantage of the transformative developments happening within the system. We’ve talked about the unbanked for a very long time, and I think with what the Fintech’s are doing and what is happening with technology in general, we can start to tackle this in a very meaningful way.”
“The AFCFTA is out there. They’ve also launched a Pan-African payment system which provides unique opportunities for linkages across different countries. The new things associated with the evolving developments offer unique opportunities, and that’s why we are optimistic that even being an indigenous bank we can spread our tentacles to other geographies,” he added.