Google has expressed its regret over a “minor glitch” that caused the value of the Ghanaian currency, the cedi, to drop significantly.
CNN reports that a recent glitch in Google’s currency conversion rates system shocked many Ghanaian citizens. The Ghanaian currency, the cedi, has been performing poorly for some time and fell to a record low against the dollar in February with a total depreciation of 8.6 percent this year. So citizens were surprised on Marchi 15 when they logged onto Google to discover that the value of the cedi had increased by 300 percent in one day and was trading at a rate of 22.72 to one U.S. dollar.
The increased figure was apparently the result of an issue with Google’s currency conversion system for which the company has apologized. In a letter to Ghana’s Ministry of Finance, Google explained the issue with Google’s head of Public Policy & Government Relations, West and Francophone Africa, Titi Akinsanmi, writing:
We are aware of the issue of inaccurate conversions for Ghanaian Cedi currency on Friday the 15th of March. This was caused by a minor glitch that was quickly fixed. We always aim to provide people with the most relevant, useful information to help them to make the right decisions. But sometimes there are temporary issues that can cause people to have undesired experiences, like the one this past Friday. This was regrettable.
The ministry of finance noted that both Nigeria and Pakistan have suffered similar errors from Google’s currency converter; a Google spokesperson noted that the error in Ghana was rectified within an hour and that the Nigerian issue was also resolved in a quick and timely manner. However, it is extremely worrying that Silicon Valley tech firms now have the ability to greatly influence the value of a currency in other countries simply by changing a few figures in their system.
Currently, Google shows a rate of 5.23 cedis to one US dollar.