An Overview of the Current Fintech Startup Ecosystem in Ghana
Technological disruption in the financial services sector has opened a new marketplace in Ghana to establish fintech companies.
Ghana has become a West African hub for startups offering financing, networking, and support through a variety of organisations. The country’s highly skilled workforces supported by a strong educational sector, allows companies to draw on a superb local talent pool.
A History of Fintech in Ghana
Fintech first entered the Ghanaian market in 1997 – with the introduction of the Sika Card by the Social Security Bank – permitting cashless transactions by consumers. And a smart payment system was launched by the government in 2008 – which permits banks and savings and loan companies to conduct cashless transactions.
There are currently approximately 11 million active mobile payment users in Ghana, with banks recording 80% of transactions as emanating from digital or electronic systems. According to the Bank of Ghana, there are over 70 fintech companies currently operating in the country.
Ghana Maintains a Strong Fintech Ecosystem
Several investors focused on early-stage startups are actively helping Ghanaian entrepreneurs scale their businesses. Too, the country’s economic and political stability helps bolster investor confidence, eases capital inflows, and further sustains the ability for startups to scale.
The ecosystem supporting fintech entrepreneurship in Ghana also includes several accelerators and co-working spaces. The accelerators focused on Ghana provide a wide range of assistance including help with development of entrepreneurial skills, business acumen, internships, market access, operational training and more. Financial service offerings provides a wide range of options including grants, debt, and equity. Venture and angel investors are also highly active in the country – often helping entrepreneurs to connect with a global network of high-net worth individuals.
Legal Framework for Setting up a Fintech Business in Ghana
The Bank of Ghana is responsible for the regulation of fintech in the country – including all supervisory and regulatory matters related to payment, clearing and settlement systems.
Following the emergence of a complex fintech technology landscape, the Bank of Ghana established a fintech and Innovation Office in May 2020 – which drives the Bank’s cash-lite, e-payments and digitisation agenda. The Bank has in place appropriate measures to help ensure fintech companies are properly established and registered in the country.
Fintech companies which serve as payment services providers and electronic money issuers are governed by the Payment Systems and Services Act of 2019. This main regulatory framework applies to banks, specialised deposit-taking institutions, payment services providers, dedicated electronic money issuers and their affiliate and/or agents.
The Act permits a licensee to carry out a payment service business or to issue electronic money. The Act requires licensees adhere to universal principles of consumer protection and appropriate complaint procedures in their governance, fees, technology, security, and controls. The Bank of Ghana provides regular updates to the licensing requirements for fintech companies – to ensure adequate compliance with international best practices and a high degree of interest in continued establishment of fintech businesses in Ghana.
Ghana has become one of the most advanced startup ecosystems in Africa – and now serves as a hub into Western Africa for entrepreneurs and investors. Ghana’s growth in this area has been helped by it is large consumer market, deep entrepreneurial talent base, and strong corporate sector. Too, because of its’ strong access to capital, connections to international investors – and the local ecosystem supporting entrepreneurs – Ghana is poised to continue to thrive as an important fintech hub well into the future.
CQ Legal Can Help You Access the Ghana Fintech Market
CQ Legal provides comprehensive legal services for fintech entrepreneurs and inventors in Ghana. We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how we can help you thrive in Ghana’s fintech economy.
Cynthia Quarcoo is the Founder and Managing Partner of CQ Legal & Consulting, a boutique law firm based in Accra, Ghana.