As part of activities marking MTN MoMo Month ’21, a stakeholder forum was held to recollect the successes chalked so far, as well as deliberate on the way forward for MoMo in particular, and digital payments in general.
The forum, held under the theme “Digitizing payments in Ghana: A collaborative effort needed for success” was attended by representatives of key stakeholders in the financial sector of Ghana as well as members of the media.
Digitizing payments in Ghana
Giving the keynote address on behalf of the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Setor Amediku (the Head of Payment Systems at BoG) thanked MTN for its commitment towards the country’s financial inclusion and cash-lite society agenda. He mentioned the numerous MoMo agent stalls as being evidence of the massive role MTN has played in Ghana’s electronic payment economy.
He touched on the benefits of collaboration between industry stakeholders — that aside from encouraging healthy competition has led to innovation in revenue collection — noting that utility payments and more, are ways in which digital payment systems are making financial transactions easier for consumers.
He called for collaboration between bank and non-bank financial services providers to intensify the campaign against fraud and instances of Use cases.
In his closing remarks, he called on the sector regulator, stakeholders, market players, and end-users to scale up the delivery to create greater value for users as well as break down the barriers hindering effective collaboration between industry players.
Eli Hinneh, CEO of Mobile Money Limited, in his address, noted that the investments in digital payments and commitment by the government — over the years — has seen Ghana’s payment systems experience massive improvement over the years.
He noted that the future was more of collaboration rather than competition; by touching on the bank—telco partnership and how their collaboration to drive the agenda forward has enabled transactions between MoMo and bank accounts.
On the role telecom service providers play in this, he noted that Internet access, smart devices, and data availability will also facilitate a digital lifestyle as more people do their purchases and other lifestyle-related things online.
Speaking on future possibilities, Eli Hinneh commended Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia’s efforts at digitizing Ghana and noted that it sets the tone for development into the future.
On the success of this agenda, he spoke about trust being the basic requirement for getting people to move away from cash transactions and replacing them with digital platform payments. To this end, he called on service providers to do well to make their platforms gain the full confidence of their customers since the cost of transacting with cash is higher considering the security risks as well as loss due to natural disasters and the like.
Speaking from the merchant’s perspective, Afia Appiah — Group Moderator, Just Because Fitness — … opened by saying as business owners have no reason to not sign up to be an MTN MoMo merchant as it makes transactions easy — whether receiving payments or making deposits at the bank.
She said no business is too small to sign up to be a MoMo merchant as — aside from the guaranteed safety of not working with cash — it also helps the merchant save money.
She ended her submission by stressing the importance of financial inclusion and services that make it possible.
Mrs Mansa Nettey (CEO, Standard Chartered Bank PLC) spoke on products that improve the lives of the users, that not only do they serve an immediate purpose but deliver long-term value to their community in social services.
Continuing on the need for collaboration, she reiterated the importance of working together to achieve much for the greater good; noting that if everyone in the payment sector chips in their quota, Ghana would have a robust system that all stakeholders would be proud of.
She said with the progress being made so far, it is clear all the industry players need each other. Telcos and fintech platforms can work together to eliminate fraud and money laundering. Banks on the other hand can learn from the speed with which telcos and their fintech counterparts process transactions among others.
Mrs Nettey called for a cross-pollination of ideas from all sides of the sector. Regulation, fraud detection, data protection, and effective deployment of solutions will need all key stakeholders to work together to achieve a common goal.
She noted that banks continue to play a significant role — working with the central bank and other key stakeholders to create a financially inclusive environment and cash-lite society by pioneering new solutions and catching up with already existing ones.
Dr. Augustina Odame, CEO of the Technology Chamber, took the podium and in addition to other important points, spoke on the need for stakeholders to place emphasis on fraud education. She noted how people who hitherto did not fancy MoMo transactions, now had to make use of the platform in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
For some of those people, unfortunately, knowing less about the system left them open to the activities of sophisticated fraudsters. For this reason, some have gone back to their old ways of keeping money on their person — setting the financial inclusion and cash-lite society agenda back.
When Mr Kwame Oppong, Head of Fintech and Innovation at the Bank of Ghana took his turn at the podium, he highlighted some policies of the BOG and noted that for any of such to work a country would need to;
- have a strong digital identity and payment systems.
- have a digital payment ecosystem that is not fragmented.
- bring payment service providers (fintech) on board.
- have interoperability structure to enable seamless transactions.
Touching on collaboration, he assures industry players of the Bank of Ghana’s readiness and willingness to work with all stakeholders to make the national agenda a reality.
After the addresses, a panel discussion moderated by Citi FM’s Bernard Avle followed with the speakers answering questions from the audience.
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