Financial and digital Literacy key to bridging financial inclusion gap

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Madam Angela Mensah-Poku, Chief Enterprises Business Officer, MTN Ghana, has urged actors within the financial inclusion ecosystem to prioritise financial and digital literacy as the bedrock for the industry's growth.  She said to bridge the financial inclusion gap and make Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) credit worthy, stakeholders must collaboratively work to give the needed education to the masses.  Madam Mensah-Poku, speaking at MTN's Business Executive Breakfast Series on the topic: 'Bridging the Credit Risk Gap for SMEs in Ghana,' said though technology and innovative solutions were a propeller, financial and digital literacy were necessary.  'Financial Inclusion, technology is nothing when there is no education on financial and digital literacy. We will never be able to attain financial wealth,' she said.  The Chief Enterprise Business Officer said the industry needed to be consistent and collaborative, whilst using technology to strengthen visibility on transactions, open suppliers to lending activities and create an ecosystem where everyone could benefit.  Mr Shaibu Haruna, Chief Executive Officer, Mobile Money Limited, said SMEs were the bedrock of Ghana's economy and MTN believed that their technology would enable them to address the issues around credit and the risk of default of customers. 'We are using our customer transaction data to predict their ability to pay and risks around default. The success story we have seen with our micro loan products is going to influence how we shape products for the future, and we are excited by the prospects of introducing products that address the specific needs of SMEs in Ghana,' he said.  Mr Haruna said through the merchants and agents transaction, the digital footprints of customers had been seen and based on the footprints they would create solutions for customers and their businesses.  'We can profile them for the levels of credit that we want to provide them in partnership with the banks or financial service providers and educate our customers con stantly about the risks of financial transactions which are centered around social engineering,' he added.  Mr Kwame Anim-Somuah, Chief Executive Officer, A. S. Farms, and a Poultry Farmer, said technology had given their businesses exposure for people and financial institutions to know their peculiar needs when accessing credit.  'We need to understand that our industry is quite different, and our credit scoring must differ from what they do for the other industry,' he said. He said for normal trading, people realise their returns or investments quickly but those in poultry and agriculture, it took a long time for them to earn money.  Mr Anim-Somuah said credit worthiness of individuals was a major factor for lending and that, once a credit scoring had been put in place, the interest rate should be structured in a way that should not be a generic score for everyone but on individual performances.  Source: Ghana News Agency

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