Unlocking fintech’s full potential: strong public-private collaborative approach and alternative funding mechanism are answers


By Martin Kwame AWAGAH

His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, Former President of the Republic of Ghana and Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the leadership of the National Democratic Congress, Fintech industry stakeholders, all protocols duly observed, Ladies and gentlemen,

First and foremost, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Office of His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, for extending this gracious invitation to the esteemed members of the fintech and technology industry here today as a way of seeking inputs in its governance policies.

It’s truly an honor to be among such innovative minds, trailblazers, and disruptors and to have the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions about the future of finance and technology in Ghana.

The Financial Technology (Fintech) industry although relatively new and developing has shown significant promise of changing our financial service delivery landscape for good.

The use of technology in our financial sector has contributed immensely towards driving financial inclusion in Ghana.

The examples of mobile money and other payment platforms, the adoption of digital innovations by our traditional banks, and the enhancement in consumer protection regimes through the deployment of e-KYC technologies, amongst others have contributed to building the foundation for a robust and resilient financial sector which leverages technology to promote the achievement of financial sector goals.

As we gather here today, it is imperative to reflect on the remarkable progress that the fintech industry has made in Ghana over the past few years. The landscape of finance has been transformed by groundbreaking technological advancements, and Ghana has been at the forefront of this revolution.

From the introduction of mobile money services, and interoperability, to the proliferation of digital platforms, the fintech industry and financial app economy, have played a pivotal role in driving financial inclusion and fostering economic growth across the country.

Our community members present here are examples of entities leading this revolutionary and disruptive charge to offer more convenient, secure, and easy ways of using financial services.

They are designing new innovations across payments, savings, and investments, crediting and lending, remittances, among others and will require support from policymakers such to create the enabling environment for their innovations to strive and become global products.

Less we forget, is the role Government has played in driving policy initiatives like the National Financial Inclusion Development Strategy (NFIDS), Digital Financial Services (DFS) Policy and the Cashlite Roadmap, which all started in 2018, have created an environment for fostering a thriving fintech landscape.

The introduction, of the Payment Systems and Services Act 2019 (Act 987), which subsequently led to the establishment of the FinTech and Innovation Office at the Bank of Ghana are testament to the undeniable role the fintech community plays in providing fast financial services delivery in a country that is largely young and technologically-driven.

However, amid these remarkable achievements, it is essential to acknowledge the challenges that the fintech industry is currently facing in Ghana. One of the most pressing issues is the lack of regulatory clarity and framework. While innovation is thriving, regulatory ambiguity often hampers the growth and scalability of fintech startups.

To address this challenge, stakeholders must collaborate closely with regulatory bodies to develop clear and coherent guidelines that promote innovation while ensuring consumer protection and financial stability.

Another challenge that warrants attention is the issue of cybersecurity and data privacy. With the increasing digitization of financial services, the risk of cyber threats and data breaches has become more pronounced.

To mitigate these risks, fintech companies must prioritize robust cybersecurity measures and invest in advanced technologies to safeguard sensitive information.

Additionally, greater awareness and education initiatives are needed to empower consumers to protect themselves from online threats.

Furthermore, access to capital and investment remains a significant hurdle for many fintech startups in Ghana. Despite the abundance of innovative ideas, limited access to funding often impedes the growth and expansion of these ventures. To address this challenge, we need to foster a more supportive ecosystem that provides startups with access to financing, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

Hence, we gladly welcome the declaration by His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama and his commitment to establish a US$50 million Fintech Growth Fund to support funding needs for the industry. We wholeheartedly support this declaration and commit to working with His Excellency to actualize this very important catalytic growth for the sector.

However, discussions on the formation of a FinTech Fund which we believe will largely assist in ameliorating some of the challenges revealed today, must not become a rhetoric for political expediency.

But rather a strong collaborative approach between the public and private sectors, as well as the support of alternative funding mechanisms such as venture capital and angel investing, can help unlock the full potential of Ghana’s fintech industry.

In conclusion, while the fintech industry in Ghana has made remarkable strides, there are still challenges that must be addressed to unlock its full potential. By fostering collaboration, embracing innovation, and addressing regulatory and financial support barriers, we can build a thriving fintech ecosystem that drives economic prosperity and promotes financial inclusion for all. Together, let us work towards realizing this vision and shaping the future of finance in Ghana.

Before I assume my seat, I want to assure His Excellency of our commitment to continue engagements such as this towards building a sector which works for the government, private sector, and the end consumer.

I entreat the party to listen and take note of the individual feedback of our members and factor them into its policy initiatives.

>>>this is a speech by Martin Kwame Awagah President, Ghana Fintech and Payments Association (GFPA) at the stakeholder engagement of the fintech ecosystem with John Dramani Mahama, Former President of Ghana and the current flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the upcoming elections.

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