Deputy Governor of Bank of Ghana, Elsie Addo Awadzie

The Bank of Ghana is in the process of developing a directive to promote access to finance for People with Disabilities (PWDAS).

The proposed directive will focus on eliminating barriers that affect access to finance for PWDAS and will among other things require physical access to premises of financial institutions for PWDAs and access to digital payments and financial services for PWDAs.  Others are promotion of good conduct of employees of regulated financial institutions in the provision of services to PWDAs and prevention of discrimination against PWDAs by regulated financial institutions.

Speaking at the launch of the German Development Corporation Financial Inclusion for PWDAS in Ghana, Second Deputy Governor, Elsie Addo Awadzi said the objectives of the project are consistent with a number of policy initiatives of the Government of Ghana to promote inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economic growth.

In particular, Ghana’s National Financial Inclusion and Development Strategy seeks to increase the rate of financial inclusion in Ghana from 58% in 2015 to 85% by 2023, by removing barriers that prevent underserved segments of the population from accessing financial products and services and enables them to generate income, build assets, manage financial risks, and become economically empowered.

Also, the Ghana Digital Financial Services Policy (2020-2023) envisages interventions to deepen financial inclusion through suitable and affordable digital financial services including credit, savings, insurance, payments, and investments.

Again, the government’s policy on a Cash-lite Ghana: Building an Inclusive Digital Payments Ecosystem, seeks to enhance economic empowerment of marginalized segments of society through the supply of appropriate digital financial services and consumer protection.

Mrs. Addo Awadzi said the Bank of Ghana is a key implementing agency under the abovementioned policy initiatives.

Furthermore, she added the Bank of Ghana launched the Ghana Sustainable Banking Principles in 2019, in collaboration with the Ghana Banking Association and the Environmental Protection Agency, to promote environmental, social, and governance risk management in the banking sector.

“Principles five specifically requires banks to promote financial inclusion in their banking operations, and we therefore expect banks and ultimately all our regulated institutions to constantly develop products and services that are accessible, affordable, and appropriate for different segments of our society including persons with disabilities, or as I prefer to call them, Persons Who are Differently Abled (PWDA), and not necessarily disabled. So, I crave your indulgence to refer to them as PWDAs instead of PwDs for the rest of my remarks”, she pointed out.

The Second Govenor continued, saying, the exponential growth of digital financial services in Ghana is a real catalyst for promoting access to financial services for PWDAs, given its potential to overcome many of the physical barriers that PWDAs face in accessing traditional financial services.

As such, she said the Bank of Ghana continues to make strides in providing a supportive policy and regulatory framework that allows banks, other financial institutions, and Fintechs to design and provide innovative digital financial services and products that respond to the unique needs of underserved segments like PWDAs.

She concluded saying the Bank of Ghana will continue to provide the enabling environment that supports a stable, resilient, and inclusive financial system, where the needs and interest of all consumers are met satisfactorily.

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