Leading digital technology company in Ghana, IT Consortium, is looking for a business partner in Canada to facilitate the adoption of its CHANGO product as a platform for raising financial contributions for projects back home in Ghana in a more transparent and secure manner.
CEO of IT Consortium, Romeo Kwame Bugyei and the CTO of the company, Ebow Anamuah-Mensah, have been laying out the benefits of CHANGO to Ghanaians in the Canadian Diaspora as part on the ongoing Ghana Canadian Diaspora Investment Summit in Toronto, Canada.
The summit was put together by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre as a diaspora roadshow targetted at strategically engaging Ghanaians in the diaspora in long-term sustainable partnerships for Ghana’s development.
IT Consortium is one of many Ghanaian private sector players attending the summit to attract investors and partners to help scale the successes in Ghana’s Fintech sector across Africa and the rest of the world. The app was developed to meet the financial goals of social groups.
Romeo Bugyei stated that Chango is one of IT Consortium’s global products that ensures that monies that are sent to Ghana are secure, safe, transparent and can easily be tracked to prevent misapplication of funds.
In his presentation, Ebow Anamuah-Mensah stated that: “One of the major reasons IT Consortium came for the summit is to get business partners in Canada to facilitate the use of Chango among Ghanaians in Canada for transparent and safe financial contributions for projects back home”.
He said IT Consortium is offering the opportunity for a business partner to enable Ghanaians in Canada to create country-specific groups, such that all contributions made by members of the group will reside in Canada and could be disbursed into accounts in Canada for the purposes the group decides on.
Ebow Anamuah-Mensah gave a thorough explanation of how CHANGO works, and how it is helping to ensure transparency and accountability in group financial contributions and crowdfunding for various projects in Ghana and parts of Africa.
He noted, for instance, that traditionally, people remit money to Africa manually either through persons travelling from abroad to Africa or via the bank or known electronic transfer platforms.
But those channels, according to him, pose a number of challenges around integrity, transparency and visibility. He explained that the inability to vouch for the integrity of the person carrying the money, whether the money will be delivered to the target destination, the safety of the money itself, and even whether the receiver of the money will use it for the intended purpose are all a source of anxiety for senders.
Chango was therefore developed to solve these problems by meeting the needs of social groups in one app, currently on both the Google Play Store and the Apple Store, and also as web-based app on changoapp.com.
It allows users to create accounts, link all the sources of funds – cards, mobile money, digital wallets, bank account, etc. to that account, then you create a group, which is country specific, and set up policies for mobilisation and disbursement of funds by the group. Members can be added from anywhere in the world and contributions can be made anonymously or identified depending on the choice of every individual, but all the funds will be held in the country where the account was created.
Contributions can also be recurring based on the standing order that the contributor gives. For instance, one can give a standing order for a specific amount to be deducted from their source of funding every month and be deposited into the group’s Chango account as their dues, donation or contribution.
Transparency and accountability
To take or send money out of the group’s Chango account, the entire group would have to vote in-app and agree. The administrator will only initiate a withdrawal/cash out, and all members will get notification.
The app is designed to take every single group member’s vote before approving any disbursement, and even if one member disagrees, the app will not allow the withdrawal/cash out. This ensures accountability and transparency. “Chango provides the history of every contribution and disbursement made and all members have visibility of that history and can actually print out a statement from the app,” Ebow stated.
Groups can be created for school mates (old and current), co-workers, family members (siblings), church members, etc. no matter the location of each individual.
Chango is also used for crowd for government and non-government organisations for purposes for specific projects. An example is the Save a Heart crowdfunding project, designed to get one million people to contribute GH¢5 every month to support surgery for children with whole in heart. The app also has a crowdfunding project to provide some relief for the Ketu, Ketu South and Anglo District flood victims, and also to help rebuild homes for them.
Some other use cases include families – home and abroad – making contributions to pay for the school fees of their kids, and funds are only disbursed directly into the account/wallet of the school to prevent a situation where one individual will receive the money and may not pay the school fees.
Others have used it for contributions for funerals, wedding planning, construction projects, old school groups raising funds for projects in their alma mater, etc.; and funds are disbursed without any one person misusing the funds. NGOs use Chango to raise money for charity projects, and even some start-ups have used Chango to raise debt as seed money from investors.
Ebow-Anamuah Mensah said Chango is approved by the Bank of Ghana, and that means it is safe to use, adding that the target is to get it in the whole of Africa and indeed the rest of the world.
IT Consortium is one of three Ghanaian Fintechs who designed and built Ghana governments digital services and payment platform, Ghana.gov, which ensures that all monies paid to government goes directly into the bank of accounts of the respective institutions; and at the end of the year, all those monies are moved to the Bank of Ghana so government can have access to it for national development. Ghana.gov has drastically reduced the human intervention in government revenue collection, and therefore, reduced corruption significantly.
Currently, IT Consortium boasts processing over 5.6 million transactions for at more 1.5 million persons using its platforms and transacting more than US$300million every single month. The company is ISO 27001 certified, PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) certified and holds an Enhanced Payment Service Provider license from the Bank of Ghana.