Ghana has been acknowledged as the only nation in Africa to attain complete financial inclusion.
This year’s State of Inclusive Instant Payment in Africa Report, which was produced by AfricaNenda and released during the ongoing Mobile World Congress Africa 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda, detailed the honor.
This achievement was made possible by the Mobile Money Interoperability (MMI) system, which successfully integrated all payment platforms from banks, fintechs, and telecoms to enable rapid payments for all Ghanaians.
Vice President Bawumia expressed his delight that the government’s digitization agenda, which was started in 2017 and touches almost every aspect of national life, is starting to produce the desired results while speaking about the monumental achievement at the ongoing Standard Chartered Bank Digital Banking, Innovation and Fintech Festival in Accra on Wednesday, October 26, 2022.
“In fact, because of mobile money interoperability, where fintechs, banks and telcos have essentially payment platforms that enable every Ghanaian to access and receive payments, Ghana was the only country to score 100% on financial inclusion in Africa at the ongoing Mobile World Congress Africa 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda. And it just makes you proud in this context that yes, we are doing what is actually quite right.
“You’ve seen mobile money interoperability; you’ve seen the national ID card; you’ve seen digital addresses, you’ve seen the paperless ports, universal QR code, Ghana pay, and so on. All of this is laying a particular foundation in this country that will allow us to fully participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“It is also comforting to note that even the credit reference agencies are leveraging on these infrastructure, the digital infrastructure that we have put in place, digital addresses, national ID and so on. We are expecting that individual credit scoring by the credit reference agencies will start taking place by the first quarter of next year, which will allow and underpin the development of a real credit system in Ghana which is very, very critical in terms of the development of this country.”
Digital technology has changed the way Africa’s financial service industry offers products and services to consumers, Dr Bawumia pointed out, noting that new financial service business models based on digital technologies are enabling inclusive access to financial services across diverse product types for consumers.
“As a government, we realized it was imperative to adopt digital innovation to transform the economy. It is not a venture without opposition, and there are huge costs associated to get to our destination. However we are unwavering as we are convinced the benefits will outweigh the costs, and these benefits are already beginning to show.
“Thus far, we have introduced some interventions such as mobile money interoperability, digital renewal of National Health Insurance, implementation of the digital address system, the national ID card, paperless port system, QR-Code, among others.
“We are already seeing the impact of these digitisation initiatives including efficient public service delivery by all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies on the Ghana.gov portal, combating corruption by removing the middle man, and also ghost names in many transactions, bringing more Ghanaians into the formal sector and driving domestic revenue mobilization, amongst others.”
To achieve greater success and faster growth, Vice President Bawumia called for more collaboration between all players in the fintech ecosystem – banks, fintechs, telecom companies, governments, regulators and consumers – in order to position Africa as a fintech innovation hub.
“A strong regulatory framework is also necessary across the sub region to drive innovation. Central banks need to be ahead of the market and put in place regulations that are innovation friendly bearing in mind all associated risks.”
In order to find areas of overlap and encourage adoption to increase financial inclusion on the continent, the State of Inclusive Instant Payment in Africa Report looks at all instant pay rollouts across the continent.
This year, the report focused on inclusive instant payment systems in 12 African countries and Ghana was the only country that scored 100% on access to financial inclusion.
At the report’s launch in Kigali, Archie Hesse, the chief executive officer of the Ghana Interbank Payments and Settlements Systems (GhIPSS), said that after starting out modestly by combining three instant payment platforms into what he called the “financial inclusion triangle,” GhIPSS has since improved the services by adding Proxy Pay, Internet Gateway Payment, Request to Pay, and the Universal QR Code dubbed GHQR, which can be linked.
In order to ensure that the banks also participate in the mobile money market with a view to closing the financial inclusion gap, GhIPSS and the banks have created a bank-wide wallet called GhanaPay.