Friday, January 28, 2011

The Failure of the Cashless Society in Ghana

Money is dangerous ... to carry. You could lose it, or lose your life over it, right? So the Bank of Ghana introduced a debit card that you could ‘load with your money’ and use for all transactions. Ain’t that cute? But it failed.

Why did it fail? Culture!

Many years ago in Europe, the currency was gold. Then bankers came up. They took in your gold  and wrote an acknowledgement on paper, and a promise to give back your gold whenever you presented your IOU. Because the IOU was backed by gold, traders accepted it as payment for goods and services. That paper evolved into cash.

After the Colonialist has taught the Ghanaian to accept paper in place of cowries or shells or cola as money, somebody gets up and says let’s now use plastic. We will put all your money on the plastic and you can pay for anything with it. I look at my wad of 1000 Cedis and wonder how you can put it all on a little plastic card. No Sire, I beg your pardon.

So the card failed. Many have one in their pocket. It’s as light as the wind and as empty as a vacuum. Next time anybody wants to change a system of doing things, let them not ignore history and culture. Smh.

(Picture Credit -


  1. very sad!

  2. hahahhaha @ "light & empty" similes!
    we should consider adopting the "m-pesa" (mobile wallet - that has become so popular in Kenya! (i know it has nothing to do with our culture (then again, culture is evolving) and history, but it works...)

  3. Force would do. The Sika Card failed and so has the E-Zwich. However, if traders and sellers begin to insist on the card as the means of payment for some amount it would change.

  4. Kwame Mensa-Bonsu29 January, 2011

    hahahahahahahah! Funny!! Do the shops have the infrastructure to make such cards work? Also unfortunately most purchase in Ghana r 4rm petty traders. O Dear!

  5. You have an award from me. Check it out at my blog. ;-)

  6. Nana Yaw this is well said and so true! Culture is often ignored when cross border solutions are introduced...

  7. I wish you could study the DANGERS of a cashless society before considering making this a reality...


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