MTN MoMo Month: COVID-19 Deepens Mobile Money Growth In Ghana

A customer at an MTN mobile money vendor

Accra, Ghana, August 9, 2020//-Cash transacted through mobile phones and tablets in Ghana has increased significantly within the last four-month as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country are on the rise.

This is according to the latest Economic and Financial Data released by the Bank of Ghana (BoG).

It indicated that the total value of Mobile Money (MoMo) transactions increased to GH₵33.8 billion in March 2020, from GH₵23.4 billion, within the same period in 2019.

The data also revealed that between the months of April 2020 and that of April 2019, MoMo transactions had risen by 9.2 %.

Additionally, the country recorded an increase in transactions in the month of May 2020 of GH₵41.5 billion compared with GH₵25.6 billion in May last year.

Furthermore, the individuals and businesses transacted an amount of GH₵45.3 billion in June this year as against GH₵24.6 billion.

The Economic and Financial Data released by the BoG in the month of July 2020 also showed that the number of mobile money transactions jumped to 205 million in March 2020, from 156 million within the same period last year.

Similarly, it noted that the number of transactions between the months of April 2020 and April 2019 inched up by 24 million.

For the month of May this year, the number of transactions conducted by individuals and businesses also went up. The growth in the number of transactions followed that trajectory in June, this year.

During the three-week of the partial lockdown imposed on Accra, Kasoa, Tema and Greater Kumasi by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in March this year, majority of Ghanaians used mobile money as payment mode to remit cash to relatives and friends.

Fulfilling obligations  

“For those of us who had to send money across to help friends and family; pay for an item, fulfillment of our religious obligations and also gain access to money without visiting the bank, Mobile Money came in very handy to facilitate the process”, the Manager for MTN MobileMoney Limited, Eli Hini, emphasized as the company launched its annual MTN MoMo Month recently.

At the same time, small businesses such as salons, barbershops, restaurants, among others which also increasingly use mobile money as payment mode doubled their transactions.

Eli Hini, GM of MTN MobileMoney

Relying on MoMo channels

For instance, Nana Abena Twum, a 42-year-old provisions shop owner based in Accra, is relying heavily on mobile money platforms, especially MTN MoMo to transfer cash to her suppliers outside the capital city of Accra

“Some of my customers in the other regions also send me money through the MTN MoMo service”, she told this website in a sample interview on the impact of mobile money platforms on her business during this COVID-19 era.

Ms Ayisha Abu, a 27-year-old graduate who supplies fresh vegetables to people in some most urbanized parts of Africa, said: “For fear of contracting the infectious virus, the majority of her customers in East Legon, Airport City, Cantonment, among others send me money via MoMo to shop for them”.

Previously, it used to be cash-based but now all the transactions are being done through MoMo, she stressed.

Eric Nketia, a building materials shop owner  told African Eye Report that he always goes to the nearby MTN MoMo agent to cash-out and cash-in money for his business activities.

Image the world without connectivity

“Can you imagine how the world would have been if there was nothing in place to keep us connected to one another during the period of lockdown, quarantine, isolation and social distancing? Mr  Hini asked.

 “It is in view of this that we decided to focus on “the Relevance of MoMo in a COVID-19 world’ as we celebrate this month to reiterate the agenda we set a few years back to advocate for a cash lite society using MoMo”.

The company has used the MoMo month celebration to drive the adoption and acceptance of e-money across the country.

Changing financial transactions

 Financial transactions in Ghana are shifting at a fast pace from traditional banks to the platforms offered by telecoms companies such as MTN Ghana, Airtigo Money, and Vodafone Cash.

Progressively, the range of mobile accessible goods and services has successfully extended to the purchase of mobile communication credits, financial services, payment of public service bills or salaries, among others.

Economic conditions

The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to weaken global economic conditions and growth projections since Ghana recorded its first case in March this year.

The IMF has revised downwards its initial global growth forecast from a contraction of 3.0 percent to 4.9 percent in its June release of the World Economic Outlook update.

The pandemic has had a more negative impact in the first half of 2020 than anticipated and the recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously projected, according to the Governor of Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison.

Latest data from the Ghana Statistical Service pointed to a moderation in the pace of economic growth. The latest real GDP outturn showed that the first quarter grew by 4.9 percent in 2020 compared with 6.7 percent in the same period of last year.

Panel discussion on the theme for the MoMo month by Eli Hini and Abdul Majeed Rufai with host Samuel Bartels

Non-oil growth also slowed to 4.9 percent from 6.0 percent in the same comparative period.The services, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors contributed positively to the observed growth.

The Bank of Ghana’s Composite Index of Economic Activity (CIEA) contracted sharply in May 2020 compared to growth in May 2019.

 High frequency data showed that the contraction was broad-based and reflects the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Ghanaian economy.

By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, African Eye Report

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