The Minister for Business Development, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, has emphasised the need for African governments to strive toward achieving micro-economic stability as a basis for accelerated socio-economic development.
He said without a predictable business environment, efforts at transforming the African economy from a factor-driven one to an efficiency-driven economy will not be realised.
The minister made the remarks at the Africa Fintech Conference maiden edition in Lagos-Nigeria at the weekend.
The conference had the theme ‘Fintech, Beyond the Hype’, and was aimed at showcasing indigenous African creativity and innovation in the financial services sector.
Dr. Awal said in order to achieve a stable micro-economic environment, efforts must be made to reduce inflation, cost of borrowing, and high fiscal deficits as well as build a strong and competitive financial services sector.
The minister told the gathering that Ghana achieved a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate of over 8% in 2017 and is poised to achieve over 6% in 2018, due to prudent measures adopted by government.
He also explained the need to improve upon the skills-set and competencies of the youth, adding that about 60% of the continent’s population is below the age of 30 years.
“It is therefore imperative to implement, initiatives such as technical and vocational education to enable young people acquire the necessary capabilities to play a central role in the continent’s transformative process,” he added.
Dr. Awal referred to Ghana’s digitisation agenda, which seeks to formalise the economy through the issuance of a National Identification Card, Digital Addressing System, E-registration of Businesses and Paperless Operations at the country’s ports.
He said in order to enhance the entrepreneurial capacity of the youth, government has committed US$10million to support start-ups and small businesses.
He entreated African leaders to invest in initiatives and schemes to better the lot of vulnerable segments of society – such as young people, women and the physically challenged.
In his address, the President-Fintech Association of Nigeria and Convener, Africa Fintech Network, Dr. Segun Aina, stated that fintech continues to permeate all sectors, keeping sectorial incumbents on their toes as competitive advantage gives way to technological disruption.
According to him, the African Fintech conference is poised to play a pivotal role in opening market access across Africa for fintech’s and tech-enabled innovative products, thereby creating home-grown solutions to peculiar African real-world challenges.
Dr. Aina stated that the conference’s theme was chosen to pay special attention to ongoing industry adoption, application and real-world user cases and experiences of fintech.
In a speech read for him, the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, called on stakeholders to ensure access to affordable financial services for all businesses across the country.
He stressed the need for collaboration among various African countries, particularly the private sector, to achieve the goal of financial inclusion for all segments of society.
Prof. Osinbajo pledged his government’s commitment to ensuring the success of initiatives such as Fintech.
The conference saw the Africa Fintech Network (AFN) inaugurated to unify and channel Africa Fintech initiatives toward providing solutions that drive indigenous creativity to help solve challenges of financial inclusion.
Over 500 attendees and exhibitors from over 25 countries across the globe participated in the conference.