COVID-19 AND MOBILE MONEY AGENTS IN GHANA
Purpose of the Study: This survey sought to explore the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mobile money businesses in Ghana with the focus on three thematic areas; traffic of transactions, the value of transactions and the revenue of the agents.
Statement of the Problem: Mobile money services and operations are essential platforms for money transfer, safe keeping of funds for future use and also serve as job avenues for the youths. Mobile money businesses equally serve as a vital channel for financial inclusion in an economy. COVID-19 induced lockdown and restrictions had direct impact on the daily activities of mobile money agents.
Research Methodology: An online and offline survey questionnaire was employed to collect primary data from a sample of 1000 mobile money agents in Ghana. The survey adopted a comparative analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on the business activities and profitability of mobile money agents.
Result: The results obtained suggest that the traffic and value of mobile money transactions as well as the profitability of the mobile money agents in Ghana have witnessed downward trends during the lockdown periods. These indicators began to rise during the post-lockdown but not yet fully returned to pre-lockdown levels even after relaxing of the lockdown restrictions.
Conclusion: The containment measures put in place by authorities like travel restrictions, ban on public gatherings, closing down some major streets, closure of market places, states of emergency, and total lockdown in some cases except for essential service providers. The disruptions have led to little or no work hours which have resulted in lower mobile money traffic, value of transaction and the profitability of mobile money agents putting their business and livelihood of risk.
Recommendation: The study recommends a retargeting of COVID-19 business support schemes and social intervention programs by the government of Ghana to address the challenges faced by mobile money operators posed by the pandemic. Mobile money service providers insurance cover mobile money from a small portion of agents’ commission for times like this.
Keywords: Corona Virus, COVID-19, Lockdown, Mobile Money Agent, Pandemic.
Dzokoto, V. A., & Appiah, E. (2014). Making sense of mobile money in urban Ghana: Personal, business, social and financial inclusion prospects. Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (IMTFI). University of California, Irvine.
Ferrante, L., Steinmetz, W. A., Almeida, A. C. L., Leão, J., Vassão, R. C., Tupinambás, U., ... & Duczmal, L. H. (2020). Brazil’s policies condemn Amazonia to a second wave of COVID-19. Nature Medicine, 26(9), 1315-1315.
Ghanbari, B. (2020). On forecasting the spread of the COVID-19 in Iran: The second wave. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, 140, 110176.
Gyimah, N. (2020). Effect of Partial Lockdown on Food Security during the Coronavirus (COVID-19): The Case of Capital City of Ghana, Accra. Accra (September 14, 2020).
Hussein, M. A. (2019). Do mobile money savings play a moderating role for financial inclusion in Ghana? (Master's thesis, İbn Haldun Üniversitesi, Lisansüstü Eğitim Enstitüsü).
Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center. http://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
Kano, T., Yasui, K., Mikami, T., Asally, M., & Ishiguro, A. (2020). An agent-based model for interrelation between COVID-19 outbreak and economic activities. arXiv preprint arXiv:2007.11988.
Kusimba, S., Chaggar, H., Gross, E., & Kunyla, G. (2013). Social Networks of Mobile money in Kenya. Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (IMTFI). Working Paper series 2013-1.
Leung, K., Wu, J. T., Liu, D., & Leung, G. M. (2020). First-wave COVID-19 transmissibility and severity in China outside Hubei after control measures, and second-wave scenario planning: a modelling impact assessment. The Lancet.
Li, Q., Guan, X., Wu, P., Wang, X., Zhou, L., Tong, Y., & Xing, X. (2020). Early transmission dynamics in Wuhan, China, of novel coronavirus–infected pneumonia. New England Journal of Medicine.
Owusu, L.D. and Frimpong-Manso, K. (2020), "The impact of COVID-19 on children from poor families in Ghana and the role of welfare institutions", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCS-07-2020 0033
Panovska-Griffiths, J., Kerr, C. C., Stuart, R. M., Mistry, D., Klein, D. J., Viner, R. M., & Bonell, C. (2020). Determining the optimal strategy for reopening schools, the impact of test and trace interventions, and the risk of occurrence of a second COVID-19 epidemic wave in the UK: a modelling study. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 4(11), 817-827.
Rodriguez-Morales, A. J., Cardona-Ospina, J. A., Gutiérrez-Ocampo, E., Villamizar-Peña, R., Holguin-Rivera, Y., Escalera-Antezana, J. P., ... & Paniz-Mondolfi, A. (2020). Clinical, laboratory and imaging features of COVID-19: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Travel medicine and infectious disease, 101623.
Samkange, F. (2011, June). An integrated research process model: a conceptualized and contextualized methodology for interrogating complex technological development issues. In 10th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies: conference proceedings, June 20th-21st, ed. Marie Ashwin.
Upoalkpajor, J.-L. N., & Upoalkpajor, C. B. (2020). The Impact of COVID-19 on Education in Ghana. Asian Journal of Education and Social Studies, 9(1), 23-33. https://doi.org/10.9734/ajess/2020/v9i130238
Wise, J. (2020). Covid-19: Risk of second wave is very real, say researchers. BMJ: British Medical Journal (Online), 369.
Xu, S., & Li, Y. (2020). Beware of the second wave of COVID-19. The Lancet, 395(10233), 1321-1322.