I see a lot of people trying to solve payment problems based on their assumptions not their own reality. I have been ill and grounded at home and this morning I ran out of damn eggs! I also ran out of local cash as well and I have 3 options to solve this damn problem! 1. Give my housekeeper some US Dollars to go change to Ghana Cedis then buy the damn eggs! 2. Go get some cash from the ATM to get the damn eggs! Only problem is that the nearest ATM at East Legon is a StanChart ATM which accepts only Visa cards. So to do that, I have to transfer money from one account to another then get a driver from the office to take me there so I can get cash. Other option is drive to Spintex to use my Mastercard on the only ATM (from Stanbic Bank) that accepts all cards to buy the damn eggs! 3. Do a transfer from my bank account to my housekeeper's mobile wallet so she can goto the corner shop at here East Legon to just buy the damn eggs! That is assuming that the retailer accepts payments from all mobile wallets. I could also have just used my card at a cheap POS or NFC enabled phone with the retailer to just buy the damn eggs! The third option seems the easiest way to buy the damn eggs! but right now it does not exist! It is fairy tales or science fiction........but wait!!! Is this is what I am supposed to be doing for a living? Solving payment problems.....If I cant solve my own personal payment problems how can I solve the problems of others?? This is a real problem and not the problems of some imaginary people doing imaginary remittances to some other imaginary people. It is not about imaginary agents doing cash-ins and cash-outs for imaginary customers. I have decided to give myself a challenge to work towards. I have decided that that between now and December, every wallet in Ghana will be interoperable with every bank account and every merchant or corner shop will have an app on a phone that can make people just buy the damn eggs! Interoperability between bank accounts and all wallets is the only way cash can be fought. It is all about linking stores of value with each other simple. Nobody cares about cash-lite, cash-heavy or cash-low and cash-high all they want to do is just pay for some damn thing!
My boss just saw what I wrote here and he says I should describe my situation simply as a situation of being at home and broke. I told him that being broke is a temporary state, which can always be alleviated by efficient links between stores of value.
We are tired of this never-ending story of how financial inclusion will save all of Africa from eternal damnation and bring us all to paradise. All we really need is just not to be broke most of the time and be able to buy something with what we have got. It is a simple problem with people trying to provide unnecessarily complex solutions. My boss calls electronic cash “witchcraft money”, my answer to him is that even if it requires "witchcraft" to do this it must be done.
For now I just have to bear the pain to get some cash to buy the damn eggs!