BRUSSELS, 20 May 2016 – A group of 20 Ghanaian post office staff members earlier this month took part in a WSBI-ESBG supported human capital development training course on remittance businesses for financial services.
Training sessions took place May 2-6 in Accra, where a professional WSBI-contracted trainer guided staff through areas such as the fundamentals of the remittance market in Africa, negotiations, training techniques and anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism requirements, cash management and budgeting. Staff from the country's capital took part as well as those from other parts of the West African country from coastal areas like Cape Coast to inland towns Wa in the Upper West Region and Tamale in the Northern Region.
The training occurred as part of the Africa Postal Financial Services Initiative (APFSI), a multi-country, broad-based partnership programme that seeks to ramp-up competition in the African remittance marketplace by helping African post offices increasing their share in the benefits of offering remittances and financial services and help enable them to do so.
The work is important because financial inclusion remains a challenge in Ghana, the 13th largest economy on the continent, where 40.5 per cent of the population claim to have account ownership according to the World Bank's Financial Inclusion Data / Global Findex. Although higher than 28.9 per cent for all of sub-Saharian Africa, only 19 per cent of its Ghanaians have a formal savings account.
Post Offices: a window to the financial world for rural Africans
The initiative is a joint regional programme launched by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the European Commission in collaboration with the World Bank, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) – a specialized United Nations agency for the postal sector, the WSBI-ESBG and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).
The initiative sees post offices as ideally placed to deliver remittances in rural areas. The challenge is they often lack the business model, technology and expertise to process real-time payments such as remittances in an efficient and safe manner. The goal of this initiative is to promote, support and scale up key postal networks in Africa in the integration of remittance services.
WSBI and financial inclusion in Africa
As the largest provider of accounts for the poor worldwide, WSBI and its members, which includes Ghana member HFC Bank, looks for ways to address financial inclusion. WSBI is active in the global policy debate on setting an enabling environment for financial inclusion. WSBI drives the member commitment to the 2012 Marrakech Declaration to provide 'An Account for everyone'. Association members also pledged to reach 1.7 billion customers and 400 million new transaction accounts by the end of 2020 as their contribution to the World Bank Group's strategic goal of Universal Financial Access by 2020. WSBI announced last month that its members had exceeded projections on its commitment to the Universal Financial Access 2020 Goal both in terms of total numbers of customers as well as transaction accounts.
Training expert Kees van Nederkassel, who is retained by WSBI, ran the training. The work in Ghana marked the third time the savings and retail banking association has conducted an APFSI-related training session.
Ghana is one of four countries whose post office is benefiting from the APFSI programme. WSBI recently reported last week that it had completed training courses in Madagascar where 14 managers and trainers in the town of Antananarivo working for Paositra Malagasy – Madagascar Post Office – like counterparts in Ghana, also acquired new techniques to better provide financial services for people living on the southeastern African island.
Future WSBI training of trainer course, as part of the APFSI, are planned for June 2016 in Benin and Senegal.
>> Discover: Africa Postal Financial Services Initiative
>> Learn more: WSBI Training and Consultancy
>> See: WSBI commitment to World Bank Group's 2020 UFA goals
>> Story on Madagascar post office receiving WSBI-ESBG-sponsored training