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Ghana News

The Role of Data in Achieving Financial Inclusion in Ghana

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Financial inclusion is an essential aspect of economic development and growth in any country. In Ghana, the Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Elsie Addo Awadzi, has emphasized the critical role that data plays in monitoring progress in financial inclusion. She explained that data is necessary to measure gaps in inclusion, design appropriate interventions, and monitor their implementation and effectiveness.

For data to achieve these objectives, it should be comprehensive, high-quality, consistent, reliable, accessible, and connected with other related databases. Both supply and demand-side data are key to achieving these objectives. Fortunately, there are several key data sources that feed into policy formulation, regulation, and the design of financial products and services in Ghana.

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One of the most comprehensive and authoritative comparative data sources on access to financial services in the developing world is the World Bank Global Findex Database. This database provides almost 300 indicators on topics such as account ownership, payments, saving, credit, and financial resilience, disaggregated on the basis of gender, age, and other demographics.

According to the 2021 Findex report, mobile money has become an essential driver of financial inclusion in Ghana, with mobile money accounts surpassing traditional bank accounts. The report also shows that in Ghana, the gender gap in access to finance was 11 percent compared to an average of 12 percent for Sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, the percentage of women accessing finance had increased from 27 percent in 2011 to 63 percent in 2021.

The Bank of Ghana has also recently implemented a new online reporting and analytics supervisory tool (ORASS) that helps to harmonize data collection from various licensed institutions and improve data analytics and reporting. ORASS unifies licensing databases with prudential reporting databases to achieve more comprehensive and effective supervision of licensed institutions. It also enables regulated institutions to submit their prudential returns to the bank periodically on a disaggregated basis to help monitor access to finance on a more granular basis, including by gender and age dynamics of their customer base and product and service offerings.

For the most part, there are many such efforts in Ghana to improve the quality and availability of data to support financial inclusion efforts. However, what is needed going forward is a unified data architecture to connect existing databases for effective and consistent policy formulation and regulation. This will aid in designing appropriate financial products and services to meet the needs of all economic actors in Ghana.

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