As of 2011 the IMF had rated Ghana as the fastest growing economy in sub-Saharan Africa, however roughly one quarter of the country’s 27 million inhabitants live below the poverty line. Almost 50% of these residents have no access to or do not use financial products; the Bank of Ghana’s 2012 commitment statement to the Maya Declaration targets a revision of the Payment System Strategy, improved regulations for branchless banking, expansion of consumer protection, stimulation of demand for financial services, and development of financial literacy with a target of 70% financial inclusion by 2017.
Critical to Ghana’s efforts to boost financial inclusion is improving access to the 49% of the country’s population living in rural zones in the north-east; poverty rates in this area are two to three times the national average. Mobile money providers have strong potential as a solution to financial inclusion for rural consumers, with Ghana displaying high nationwide mobile penetration at 99.7%, but only 9% of mobile phone owners using mobile money services in 2012.
Sources: Ghana Maya Declaration, Ghana FinScope 2010, Ghana Census 2010