Despite the coronavirus pandemic causing a lot of havoc to all economies around the world, there is some positive news coming from Ghana as the fear of the virus has encouraged the use of electronic platforms for business transactions.
Data from the country’s central bank indicates that the mobile money platform is the biggest gainer in this pandemic period. The Mobile money interoperability platform, which was launched in May 2018 to make it possible to transfer and receive money from a different network operator, recorded 31.4 percent growth in March 2020 alone – the very month Ghana reported its first case of the novel virus.
Prior to this, the interoperability platform recorded a contraction of 1.6 percent and 2.5 percent in January and February respectively, indicating that most consumers were still comfortable with the use of hard cash for their business transactions. But the sudden appearance of the coronavirus on March 12 automatically changed the status quo, as many, especially, the educated and elite class, resorted to cashless transactions for fear of contracting the disease through the exchange of hard cash.
The change in consumer behaviour also reflected in the number of transactions recorded on the interoperability platform. The number of transactions increased to 1,987,000 in March from 1,554,000 the previous month, a 27.8 percent growth compared to a 2 percent decline in February.
In terms of monetary value, the interoperability push recorded an all-time high value of GH¢166.3 million in March compared to the GH¢126.6 million in February. The virus also triggered mindset change among those who may have reservations about holding a mobile money account as the data further shows the number of registered mobile money accounts increased to 34.3 million in March. Prior to that, only marginal increment was recorded in new entrants between January and February (32.6 and 32.7 million respectively).