While in Ghana, I paid for products and services in cash. Although Mobile Money transactions are popular in this West African country, my MTN Ghana line didn’t have a corresponding MoMo account.
Hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and other formal business establishments accept debit and credit cards. However, it is advisable to keep some cash in your pockets while visiting places, especially if you are not a registered Mobile Money user.
My VISA card was useless when I had to buy a jersey from a vendor doing business at Makola Market. Again, it was worthless when I purchased a handful of necklaces from a hawker selling random stuff to beach goers. Even the transport company that ferried me to the Volta Region didn’t give me the option to pay electronically.
The Ghanaian Cedi was adopted in 1965, replacing the Ghanaian Pound. The latter was part of the British colonial monetary system. In 1967, the new cedi came without the image of Kwame Nkrumah, following his ousting through a coup d’état. Until the recent inflation, the cedi had been relatively stable.
Cedi is an Akan word which means cowry shell. Akan is spoken in parts of Ghana and Ivory Coast. At some point before the colonial occupation, cowries were used as currency in parts of Africa and Indo-Pacific.
To understand the monetary value attached to each payment, I would convert the charged amount into US Dollars. I have to admit, I hate making this my default benchmark. Nonetheless, I use Uncle Sam’s money as reference whenever I pay for something in an unfamiliar currency.