Project Year

2012

Region(s)

West Africa

Country(ies)

Ghana

Project Description

While the initial pace of adoption of Mobile Money (MM) by Ghanaian consumers has been slow, it is expected to pick up. The MM platform has clear advantages for Ghanaian businesses and consumers over physical cash, yet it may also have unintended consequences related to the non-economic functions of money, as well as operational hitches related to weaknesses within the existing national infrastructure that the MM platform needs to operate. It is unclear whether MM will positively influence the urban poor or whether MM will continue to be an area of financial exclusion in this population. The goals of this study are (i) to investigate MM uptake patterns in the second year of its re-introduction to Ghana, (ii) to explore the social and cultural interfaces between MM and existing money behaviors, including the savings and money transfer practices of Ghanaians from different socioeconomic classes, and (iii) to investigate the internalized (cognitive) representations of MM that Ghanaians develop. The focus will be on the segments of the Ghanaian population, as well as the behavioral practices, that will be included and excluded from the MM adoption process.

Researcher(s)

Vivian Afi Dzokoto, Elizabeth Appiah

About the Researcher(s)

Dr. Vivian Afi Dzokoto is an Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 2005, and completed her undergraduate education at the University of Ghana. Dr. Dzokoto is a cultural and clinical psychologist whose varied research interests include the cultural aspects of human-money interfaces. So far her research in this domain has focused on Ghana. Of special interest in this area are the predictors of consumer up-take and resistance to new forms of money (including redenominated currency and mobile money); the impact of new forms of money on the poor; psychological processes involved in understanding and habituating to new forms of money, and awareness of and attitudes about AML/CFT.

Dr. Elizabeth N. Appiah is the head of the Department of Management Studies at the Pentecost University College, Accra. She holds a PhD. in economics of education from the University of Illinois and a master of science in economics from the University of North Carolina. She is co-author of a number of professional articles on the economics of human capital and geographic poverty. Earlier, she taught economics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and was also a consultant.

Synopsis of Research Results

1. Link to their final report: Making Sense of Mobile Money in Urban Ghana: Personal, Business, Social, and Financial Inclusion Prospects.

2. Link to their blog post

3. Link to Vivian Dzokoto's blog post: IMTFI Panel at 54th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association

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