Senior Advisor to the Vice President, Professor Kwaku Appiah-Adu, says full implementation of the e-Cedi will diversify digital payment and ensure a secure and robust payment infrastructure in the country.
As a result, he called on players within the financial services industry to invest in technology and innovation to ensure smooth implementation of the e-Cedi, which is expected to quicken the country’s COVID-19 era economic recovery.
“Considering the broad structural changes brought about by the pandemic, now is an ideal time for many within the financial services industry to invest in technology and innovation. In the past, digital adoption has been hindered by generational divides; but the pandemic has been a great equaliser,” said the Vice President’s senior advisor.
He was speaking at the first-ever Ghana-Israel FINTECH SUMMIT—GIFS 2022, themed Innovation in Financial Service Delivery, on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in Accra.
The central bank has started piloting an offline version of the e-Cedi to be used for consecutive payments in areas yet to be connected to digital and Internet infrastructure, according to Bank of Ghana Governor, Dr. Ernest Addison.
The piloting is being carried out at Sefwi Asafo in the Western North Region, where select users in that community have been using it for daily purchases such as food, groceries and drinks.
This development, according to Professor Appiah-Adu, has the potential to make markets more diverse and competitive at a time innovation has introduced competition and increased inclusion – particularly in emerging markets and developing economies where fintech seems to have thrived, and especially in markets where the financial system has been less developed.
Acknowledging how the underlying economics of intermediation combined with new technology may lead to concentration among traditional and new financial services providers, he assured that the priority government gives to the ‘digital economy’ explains why the president established the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation; and there are regulations, institutions and systems put in place to help mitigate the attendant risks.
The Head of Fintech and Innovation at the Bank of Ghana, Kwame A. Oppong – who also spoke at the summit, said digitalisation has become a part of everyday life and activities affecting every sector of the Ghanaian and global economy.
“The record adoption of digital technologies has transformed the delivery of financial services and products, largely onboarding the underbanked and unbanked population to the formal financial system. This development has accelerated the attainment of our financial inclusion goals premised on a sound legal and regulatory environment,” he stated.
He said the emergence of new digital financial services, products and solutions has more broadly introduced significant complexities that require sector supervision focused to understand and supervise effectively.
Commenting on the platform provided by the summit, he said it will provide the Ghanaian fintech sector with a unique platform to share experiences and deliberate on how the adoption of digital technologies can facilitate and strengthen trade ties between Ghana and Israel, to position Ghana’s fintech space as a viable option for investors while enhancing the pursuit of financial inclusion goals.
The high-tech sector in Israel continues to thrive, accounting for over 11 percent of GDP – more than that of any other OECD country – and backed by robust governmental investment in Research and Development.
Because of this, the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Shlomit Sufa, said the Israeli fintech sector like every other high-tech sector has taken the lead to develop innovative products that bring the future closer to today.
“Israeli fintech companies are fearless; they approach innovation with the global market in mind, and we are happy to have with us today, nine of these companies to study and understand the fintech ecosystem in Ghana through this summit. They are also here to find suitable business partners and, hopefully, be ambassadors for the potentials which exist in the fintech industry of Ghana when they go back to Israel,” she said.
The participation of these nine leading Israeli fintech companies in the summit, she said, depicts the great interest many Israeli companies are showing for doing business in Ghana. “It is my desire that through the Ghana-Israel Fintech Summit we will strengthen the relationship between the Ghanaian and Israeli fintech ecosystem.”