The Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has called on stakeholders in the financial sector to collaborate and work together to enable synergies and help them and the citizens reap the full benefits of digitilisation.
The government, on its part, remains committed to the policy of building a digital economy, a financial ecosystem, and a system that best delivers a more efficient, transparent, inclusive building block in public administration.
Speaking at the Standard Chartered Digital Banking, Innovation and Fintech Festival dubbed “Enabling the Digital Economy for the 21st Century” in Accra on Wednesday (3 November 2021), Dr Bawumia challenged stakeholders to continue to innovate whilst collaborating, emphasising that it is still possible to collaborate and compete at the same time.
“Investments in innovation is crucial. Banks, financial institutions and other stakeholders should invest in digitalisation and innovation. It is the way to go. Just like client service, innovation must be at the very heart of our businesses. It will have impact on new products we churn out, make our customers more satisfied and increase value to stakeholders when done right.
“Collaboration will cement the ecosystem further. The digital economy thrives on information and collaboration. Banks, fintechs, telecom companies, governments, regulators and consumers should form one big bloc sharing information and feedback that loops everyone. Collaboration will provide opportunities for entities with different specialisations to work together to achieve bigger goals.
“Fundamentally, there is no inconsistency between competition and collaboration. I know that many of the stakeholders in our ecosystem, the private sector are very profit-driven. The Central Bank has to guard jealously the safety and stability of the system, and strive to get financial inclusion.
“But if we don’t collaborate, then everybody would be in silos, but once we come together in one ecosystem, then we are able to derive economies of scale from that collaboration, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We are very focused on inclusion, and this is why it is very important, that as we build these systems, we try to bring everybody on a common platform.
“When you look at the way mobile money interoperability was executed, we got everybody in this ecosystem on the same platform. Before, you had everybody working in different silos. You couldn’t even get moving money from MTN to say Vodafone. That couldn’t even happen.
“But once we brought everybody on one platform you now have interoperability, which is actually expanding the pie for everybody. We had GHC35 billion worth of mobile money transactions in 2015; last year it was GHC570 billion after we have done mobile money interoperability, and next year, we are looking towards a Trillion Ghana cedis of mobile money transactions.
“This means rather than competing in our individual silos to share GHC35 billion, we are going to be competing to share a trillion Ghana cedis, and that is where the collaboration does not contradict competition. We can compete and collaborate at the same time, and this thinking is what informed our launch of the Universal QR Code”, he explained.
Dr Bawumia commended the governor and management of the Bank of Ghana for the continued, fore-sighted leadership of the financial sector, saying, “I have been impressed with the regulatory oversight so far and the ongoing meticulous efforts to pilot the e-cedi to promote financial inclusion. More remains to be done in driving change, but I am confident you will be up to the task.”
He also congratulated the board, management, staff and customers of Standard Chartered as they celebrate 125 years of operation in Ghana.
“Indeed, the chronicle of Ghana’s economic history would not be complete without mentioning Standard Chartered as a result of the significant contribution to almost every facet of the economy. You have put your capital behind opportunities such as providing long term financing for infrastructure development, providing sovereign solutions and more recently providing financing for the Sustainable Development Goals.”