Players in the financial inclusion space have intensified efforts aimed at reducing the number of unbanked population in Ghana.
A recent study conducted by the Financial Sector Deepening Africa has shown that the percentage of the unbanked population currently stands at 45 percent.
However banks and their allied institutions believe the gap could be bridged if policies are aligned with financial inclusion.
According to Financial Sector Deepening Africa, which has a focus of eradicating poverty in Africa, the result of the survey is aimed at helping stakeholders achieve their goal.
The study showed that the category of persons earning between 2 and 5 dollars a day accounts for 23% of sub Saharan Africa’s population.
In Ghana this category of persons constitutes 45% of the country’s population.
The figure is therefore of great concern to players in the financial inclusion space.
For the Director of Inclusive Banking at Fidelity Bank Ghana, Esi Mills Robertson, the unreliable identification systems in the country remains a key hindrance in expanding their moves.
“I think one of the biggest things is the discussion about the national ID, and making sure that we have a national ID that is synchronized with birth and death as well as SNIT; one that works with every form of identification so that at the end of the day when the banks offer credit to these people, we will be able to locate them.”
Some managers of non-bank financial institutions which are supposed to be heavy on the agenda of financial inclusion, also say the mistrust among businesses remains an obstacle for them.
The CEO of Women’s World Banking Ghana, Charlotte Lily Baidoo advocates that the Bank of Ghana increases the confidence of the public in Savings and Loans Institutions.
“Most of my peers that do not have a bank around their name are faced with the problem of mistrust from the general public, so we will plead with the Central Bank that they should be able to educate the public on the differences between Microfinance institutions, Savings and Loans and normal banks so that people will have confidence in savings and loans and work with us.”
Another major aim of the research conducted by the financial Sector Deepening Africa Organization is for policy makers to create healthy and sustainable credit markets geared towards financial inclusion.
Director of Financial Sector Deepening Africa, Mark Napier however lauded governments acknowledgment of the huge financial gains that will improve the livelihoods of people should it focus on this sector.
“Basically we have identified that people who are not financially included are in large numbers; they are politically and economically significant so we need to focus policy attention on how we can create the opportunities for people who are in this group,” he said.
Mr. Napier added, “We need to think about what kind of credit markets we want for the country often gets overlooked by policy makers so we are talking to government right now and hopefully we will be able to get credit market developments.”
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(Via: CitiFM Online Ghana)