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Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Paypal Story… Why Ghana must be whitelisted

Ghana has being on PayPal’s blacklist for a decade now and that has made internet business a headache for many people who want to try their luck there. With the booming internet market and the unstable nature of the local currency, PayPal would have been the savior of many young entrepreneurs who want to secure their jobs and their money.

Ghana was blacklisted in 2004 together with Nigeria and other sub-Saharan countries due to credit card fraud. During that time when internet and credit card security was not as it is today, some unscrupulous young people found some dark net sites that provided them the credit card details of persons mostly in Europe and America and these details were used to buy items from EBay and Amazon. These details also enabled some of those people to log into the PayPal accounts of these unsuspecting innocent genuine PayPal users and used their accounts to order goods and services. Many complains were logged with PayPal and they decided to blacklist countries whose members indulged in those crimes. Unfortunately, Ghana was affected, together with Nigeria. On 17th June, 2014, Nigeria, ‘our partners in crime’, was taken out of that list and Nigerians have been able to purchase goods and services and also paid for their goods and services using PayPal since. So why is Ghana still blacklisted considering we petitioned them almost the same period that Nigeria did theirs?
Ghana has a population of 24 million consisting of a higher percentage of youth who are mostly educated. With the increase in usage of the internet that has almost tripled in the past decade, the number of people who might want to pay for goods and services online has also increased tremendously. PayPal allows users to safely connect their credit cards (Visa, Master, Payoneer etc.) to their PayPal accounts giving them access to easily pay for goods and services without having to use their credit card details. Payments can also be received through the same process. Since PayPal seems to be the safest way of transacting businesses online, many genuine markets or stores like Amazon and eBay requires you to have a PayPal account to be able to buy or sell on their site. Some sellers on eBay might decide to accept credit cards directly but eBay would expect buyers to verify their cards through PayPal. So if your country is not on PayPal’s list of countries they work with then that is a dead end for you. Due to this, many Ghanaian youth have resorted to DHgate, Alibaba and its subsidiary company, Aliexpress etc. which has also proved to be homes of inferior goods from China. Sometime ago, Aliexpress was listed as a scam site but that was later lifted. The probability of buying a fake or below-standard gadget from those sites is higher than that of buying a genuine one. Trust me, I have bought many items from their sites before.
Alibaba introduced a payment system similar to PayPal called Alipay but currently, Alipay is used to make purchases on their own sites. That means, it will take much longer time for the payment system to hit major stores in America and Europe. With the introduction of Apple pay and Samsung also coming out with its own payment system, I doubt if Alipay can make any impact or cause a stir outside of its native China.
Now, lets talk about why Ghana needs approval from PayPal. Online businesses is on the rise and many youth are into the online jobs. Working from the comfort of your home and getting paid is favored by many youth and many of them are making money from it. The best and reputable of these sites pay through PayPal. Young and old people who want to start their own businesses by buying and selling genuine products from American are not allowed to do so due to the PayPal barrier. This would have reduced the cost of goods and increased duties paid to the country at the harbors and airports. Every product that enters the country carries a charge payable at the entrance point. The country can make lots of money if Ghana is whitelisted because new businesses would spring up leading to the reduction in graduate unemployment. Businesses such as PayPal Cash Centers where people can buy PayPal dollars or sell their PayPal dollars will spring up everywhere. There will even be stores where you can go and order your product, pay with your PayPal account or the owners PayPal account and when the product arrives, you pay some small extra money and pick it up. Jobs that required PayPal accounts to make payments and Ghanaians who would sell their goods and services online would also bring in some foreign exchange.
Many Ghanaians have been cheated and others bought many inferior goods online due to lack of PayPal access in the country. With the love of technology consistently on the rise in the country, we cannot afford to be left out of the safest gate to shop and do business online. Our leaders should intercede for the love of the youth and the country. They can quickly overturn this verdict. I am ever ready to vote for any political party and person who can claim the right to have made PayPal change their mind and finally gets Ghana out of that blacklist. Ghana must be whitelisted, if possible, Now!

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