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Parliament approves €7m credit facility to extend e-zwich to rural areas

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A seven-million Euro credit facility between the government of Ghana and KFW Frankfurt AM Main, of Germany is expected to help extend the usage of e-zwich to rural areas.

It is expected that by 2015, seven million people in the country would be using the e-zwich device with about three million of this figure representing people from the rural areas. The device allows card holders easy and secure access to their money.

The credit facility, with a repayment period of 40 years and 0.75 percent interest rate, would help procure funds to establish a Revolving Credit Fund (RCF) from which loans would be provided to financial institutions on a revolving basis to enable them acquire e-zwich infrastructure for the implementation of the e-zwich Rural Branchless Banking project under the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPSS) strategy.

Parliament has approved the facility and it is expected that under the RCF, project activities to be covered would include investment in point of sale devices, merchant cards, customer cards and automated teller machines.

A parliamentary report indicates that the e-zwich facility would help rural dwellers, especially traders to avoid traveling with large sums and falling victim to armed robbery attacks.

According to the report, for the purposes of the project, “rural areas are defined as areas in communities of less than 5,000 inhabitants, which are located further than one hour walking distance or four kilometers from a branch of a universal bank..”

By Eunice Menka

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