- pledges support for domestic and regional financial dev’t
Group Managing Director of Processing-Africa and Co-Head of Group Processing at Network International, Dr. Reda Helal, has said that the domestic payments and settlements sector is far from being over-saturated despite rapid evolution and competition in the market.
Speaking in an exclusive interaction with the B&FT, Dr. Helal stated that in many regions, including Ghana, there is still a significant opportunity for growth in terms of financial inclusion as many individuals and businesses remain unbanked or underbanked.
“In many regions, including Ghana, there is still significant room for growth in terms of financial inclusion, as many individuals and businesses are still unbanked or underbanked. The growth of e-commerce and digital payments is driving the need for new and more secure payment systems, which provides ample room for new players in the market,” Dr. Helal explained.
While Fintechs, particularly those in the payments space, have historically attracted the most funding – US$1.8billion across the continent in 2022 – he said the comparatively low levels of financial inclusion leave room for competition-driven innovation.
Elaborating on this, Dr. Helal explained that healthy competition in the payments and settlements sector will drive innovation and lower costs, providing better services and increasing financial inclusion. He encouraged new entrants to focus on identifying unmet needs and opportunities for innovation, rather than being discouraged by the level of competition in the market.
“While it is important to be aware of the level of competition in the payments and settlements market, this should not discourage new entrants. Instead, players in the sector should focus on identifying unmet needs and opportunities for innovation in order to differentiate themselves and succeed in this dynamic and growing market,” he noted.
Dr. Helal also emphasized the importance of effective payment systems in shaping a financially inclusive society, saying that Network International is continuously working to adopt new technologies while ensuring that merchants’ feedback is incorporated into their products.
“Effective payment systems play a crucial role in shaping a financially inclusive society, as they enable individuals and businesses to participate in the formal financial sector regardless of their income level,” Network International’s Group Managing Director of Processing said.
“The payments sector has seen a considerable increase in the adoption of ever-changing technologies, and we are always working to adopt these new technologies while ensuring we incorporate merchants’ feedback in our products to ensure the user interface and experience suit the merchants and their customers,” he added.
His comments come on the back of Network International’s office and data centre launch in the country at the end of 2022, which is expected to allow the leveraging of its expertise, resources, and relationships to support the growth of digital payments and financial services in Ghana and across the continent.
With the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) still in its nascent stage and requiring improved structures to realise its goal of raising income across the continent by 7 percent (US$450billion) by 2035, Dr. Helal announced that his outfit intends to assist the central bank with the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS).
“We are honoured to be recognised by the central bank of Ghana as a market leader in the card and mobile money space. We intend to assist the central bank with the PAPSS system for Africa, which is high on the agenda for the AfCFTA agreement,” he said, even as the Bank of Ghana seeks to improve cohesion between fintech companies and other stakeholders.