Vice President Dr. Mahamudou Bawumia has issued a clarion call to stakeholders of the digital economy to increase their collaborative efforts, saying it is non-negotiable if Ghana is to achieve its goal of being the focal point of digitalisation in the region.
According to him, while a strong regulatory regime and dedicated investment are important for the nation’s economic transformation, partnerships among key players remain key – adding that adopting collaboration amid competition is not inconsistent, even for profit-driven entities.
He said this while speaking at the inaugural edition of the Standard Chartered Digital Banking, Innovation & Fintech Festival, where he cited the exponential growth in value of mobile money transactions from GH¢35billion in 2015 to GH¢570billion in 2020 due to the introduction of mobile money interoperability as a prime example of an ecosystem developing through increased collaboration.
“Collaboration will cement the ecosystem further. The digital economy thrives on information and collaboration, and as such banks, Fintechs, telecom companies, government’s regulators and consumers should form one big block for sharing information and feedback…Collaboration will provide opportunities for entities to achieve bigger goals. Indeed, there is no inconsistency between competition and collaboration,” he explained.
Dr. Bawumia was praiseful of the Bank of Ghana for its regulatory regime, which he described as” the spine on which the digital ecosystem is built” – citing impending introduction of the central bank’s digital currency, the e-cedi, as a huge achievement.
“I have been very impressed by the regulatory oversight and ongoing meticulous preparations toward launching the e-cedi. Alongside the National ID card, the digital property address system and mobile money interoperability, these are the enablers with which we will engineer many innovations and applications,” he said.
He then charged the central bank to guard jealously the system’s safety and stability as it continues its efforts to drive financial inclusion agenda.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Attah, echoing the sentiments of Dr. Bawumia said the digital economy is here to stay and must be embraced.
Using a familiar example, he stated that the value of mobile money transactions in the country is expected to hit GH¢1trillion in the coming year – an almost 100 percent year-on-year growth.
“We are at a critical stage of our development trajectory, and we must be careful not to make the monumental mistake of assuming that the digital economy is something that is fleeting; it is here, and it is here to stay,” he said.
He added that the digital economy remains the best chance of becoming a dynamic, competitive and prosperous economy, and lent his voice to calls for increased collaborations.
BoG chatbot imminent
The Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, on his part said his outfit is acutely aware of the increased risks associated with rapid digital transformation, as well as the long-lasting effects that a failure to address these risks could pose to customer confidence in the system.
“The burden of security awareness is not only on market players. Indeed, the emergence of new and digital financial solutions has introduced significant complexities in regulation and supervision as well,” he said.
He announced that the regulator is taking keen steps in this regard, with a chatbot project that is an automated consumer complaint management system aimed at addressing market conduct concerns.
This is in addition to a number of supervisory intelligence and regulatory technology tools, including the Online Reporting Analytic Surveillance System (ORASS) to exercise effective oversight and supervision of digital financial services and reduce the burden of reporting on regulated entities.
The festival, which had as its theme ‘Shaping the Next Phase of Ghana’s Financial Technology Landscape for the 21st Century’ formed part of events marking 125 years of Standard Chartered’s presence in the country.