The Business Year

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Technology and big data will play a key role in Ghana's future, from microfinance and the national ID system to managing investments.

George Ahiafor


We have name recognition because we have done detailed feasibility studies for a long time and have been customizing our system to make up for infrastructure challenges in terms of proof of address, proof of ID, and so on, as well as to be able to provide total exposure and more accurate affordability calculation for a potential client. If an individual has taken loans from several places, our products help banks and companies combine all these loans under that client so as to be able to calculate affordability and determine the person’s exposure. Participation has gone down in terms of smaller companies; however, banks are fully on board. We have many products that analyze indebtedness, performance of loans in different sectors, and other details of portfolios that should be of interest to financial institutions as well as the government. Banks agree they need these products though they claim budget constraints. We work with the banking and retail sectors, embassies, and International Finance Corporation to convince the Bank of Ghana to help reverse the trend. Along with our partners, we provide continuous education to increase participation and awareness. It seems that the new administration is starting to work on the infrastructure, the national ID system, and the address system. When these come together, it will be easier for us, using these technologies and systems, to expand.

Armin Lutz

Country Manager, deVere Group

We opened our offices in 2012 and in the past five years we have been constantly expanding our operations because of the vibrant expat market in Ghana. deVere’s multicultural staff truly gives us an edge when dealing with the specific needs and circumstances of our clients. Our main business is locally managing the UK pension funds of Ghanaians who have left the UK, facilitating access and increasing growth. Due to the large amount of funds from our 80,000 clients, previously we received special deals from large investment banks to replace the underlying investments of those pensions in 8% fixed-income products. In the future, we will do it via our own investment bank, establishing direct contact with our clients, who now benefit from more freedom. Around 75% of our clients are locals who have lived overseas while the rest are expatriates living and working in Ghana, which means there are two different tax systems. We use our own auditors and lawyers when clients have particular questions about local tax duties or tax. However, when there are changes in this country, they are done within a day, which means everyone immediately has to adapt to these sudden changes. We have an ever-increasing number of individuals working with us, which creates greater awareness of what we are actually doing due to the fact we do not have any competition in the country.

Kofi Adu-Mensah

Managing Director, Kofi Adu-Mensah

Technology drives most of what we do. Our customers are not the average sophisticated consumer that is familiar with high technology; however, we can still extend technology to them in a way that they understand gradually to make our business even better. For example, we have a portal that people can use via their smartphone to check if they qualify for a Bayport loan. We, thus, see fintechs as partners, not competitors, as they have platforms that we can adopt easily to facilitate our business. We are working with many telecoms companies in this regard as well. Our payroll services have always been for civil servants, which made collection easier because we deal with one institution. However, that client base is finite and fairly small because there are only around half a million civil servants in Ghana. In comparison, the informal sector is huge, and that is where our attention will be focused. The average Ghanaian is now familiar with mobile phones, and we want to use this channel to reach them. We do not just offer payroll loans; we also provide loans to SMEs, individuals, and groups. We have started with group lending to groups of market sellers where if one member does not pay, the rest of the group can cover the debt. These are the people that grow to the point of starting SMEs.



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