Working Paper

ICTD Working Paper 146

Mobile Money Taxation and Informal Workers: Evidence from Ghana’s E-Levy

Published on 1 September 2022

The use of digital financial services, including money transfers and mobile money, have expanded widely in lower-income countries in the past decade; 47 per cent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa (548 million) had a registered mobile money account in 2020, with 29 per cent of those accounts representing active users (Andersson-Manjang and Naghavi 2021: 8).

Among lower-income countries for which data is available, the average number of mobile money accounts is more than double the number of commercial bank accounts. In many lower-middle-income countries, mobile money usage is the same or more than commercial bank usage (Bazarbash et al. 2020). Alongside this growth, governments have increasingly sought to tax DFS, rooted in deeper discussions about the role that technology can play in increasing tax revenue and strengthening overall state capacity (Fan et al. 2020; Okunogbe and Santoro 2021).

While capturing revenue from DFS can come from many sources, mobile money taxes in particular have often been introduced due to the untapped revenue potential and the relatively convenient and easy nature of the tax handle (Lees and Akol 2021a) – particularly in relation to, say, corporate income taxes on financial service providers. As noted above, the search for revenue is often closely linked to a desire to capture revenue from workers in the informal economy, who are often framed as tax evaders.

Cite this publication

Akua Anyidoho, N.; Gallien, M.; Rogan, M. and van den Boogaard, V. (2022) 'Mobile Money Taxation and Informal Workers: Evidence from Ghana’s E-Levy', ICTD Working Paper 146, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI:10.19088/ICTD.2022.012


Max Gallien

Research Fellow

Nana Akua Anyidoho
Mike Rogan

Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies


About this publication


Related content


Digitalisation and Subnational Tax Administration in Nigeria

African Tax Administration Paper; 29

Abdulsalam Mas’ud & 2 others

1 November 2023

Working Paper

Is Transparency Enough? An Examination of the Effect of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) on Accountability, Corruption and Trust in Zambia

ICTD Working Paper 175

30 October 2023