#CitiBusinessFestival: Fintech business now much easier in Ghana

The Chief Executive Officer of IT Consortium, Romeo Bugyei, has highlighted the critical role the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) has played in Ghana’s fintech space since its inception in May 2007.

Speaking on the Citi Business Festival virtual forum on Citi TV, Mr. Bugyei pointed out that the centralized infrastructure provided by GhIPSS has made services offered by firms like IT Consortium much more “easier than in most countries, especially in Africa.

“Centralized infrastructure is very important, and interoperability is key to whatever we want to do and achieve. Although there are challenges doing business in Ghana, what people don’t realize is that doing technology business in terms of Fintechs, I think it’s becoming much easier in this country than in most countries especially in Africa.”

“That central system has taken care of all the things I need to do to be able to serve my customers and with one integration, I am able to hit all the telcos, I am able to hit all the banks, and I am able to push money wherever I want to. When you have a central system that you can pluck into, it makes work so easy and that allows us to think because we are in the business of thinking about new solutions and helping people to use them in the right manner,” Mr. Bugyei said.

GhIPSS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bank of Ghana which was incorporated in May 2007 with a mandate to implement and manage interoperable payment system infrastructure for banks and non-bank financial institutions in Ghana.

In line with its mandate, GhIPSS has implemented and currently manages the National Switch & Biometric Smart Card Payment System (e-zwich), the Cheque Codeline Clearing (CCC) System, the Ghana Automated Clearing House (GACH) systems- Direct Credit & Direct Debit and the National Switching and Processing System (gh-link).

Ghana making progress in building a cashless society 

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), Archie Hesse, also pointed out that Ghana is in a position to be recognized as one of the countries at the forefront of being a cashless society.

“If I look at the journey 14 years on, as we speak, we have enough products and services than any other country I know that exists in the world,” Mr. Hesse said during the Citi Business Festival virtual forum on Citi TV.

He said that GhIPSS only needed to make people more aware of the services and also get the government and the fintechs to embrace and use the platforms fully.

“I believe that when it comes to the infrastructure, we have it. What is needed is for us to create more awareness, look at different use cases, and have entities like our fintech [companies] and government embracing the system and using it.”

“I was reading about the race to become cashless, and there was an article that said Canada is leading, followed by Australia, and then Sweden. And their benchmark was debit cards and credit cards. Now we have them, and we have Mobile Money and so many others,” he also noted.

Benefits of a cashless system

The Chief Executive Officer for Wear Ghana, Awura Abena Agyeman, highlighted the vital role the cashless system hass played in serving and expanding the market, as well as reducing the incidents of theft.

“The cashless solutions that are currently available have made it possible for us to expand the markets that we serve. Whereas in the past, you would have to meet someone in person, for example, in the past, the story would be my sister is coming at such a time, and when they get here, they will come and buy; but that is not the story now at all because you can shop online through social media and then make the payments. So that has been good in terms of helping us to expand our reach.”

Importance of digitalization in formalizing the economy

The Executive Secretary to the Vice President, Augustine Blay, also reiterated the government’s plans of using digitalization as a means of promoting financial inclusion and formalizing the economy.

“Digitization provides the formalization and inclusion that allows economic actors to have access to money to grow their business. This is where the Vice President is going – to formalize and include more people for people to have access to money to grow the economy.”

The first virtual forum of the 2021 Citi Business Festival was on the theme ‘Building a cashless society: Opportunities for business and job creation.

Itinerary for 2021 Citi Business Festival

Week 1: Digital Economy – Building a cashless society and the opportunities for business and job creation.

Week 2: Doing business in Ghana.

Week 3: AgriBusiness – Feeding Ghana with a sound import substitution strategy.

Week 4: Trade –  AfCFTA: Opportunities for investment & Job creation in Ghana.

Week 5: Oil and Gas  – The opportunities for indigenous businesses.

There will also be virtual business fora live on Citi TV every Tuesday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm The radio on-air series is themed to correspond with the various virtual forums at 9:00am every weekday.

Citi TV’s Dziffa Akua Ametam will host these conversations with various studio guests and others via zoom, aside from the daily conversations on radio.

The Citi Business Festival is sponsored by Absa Bank with support from IT Consortium.

It is also powered by Citi FMCiti TV, and Ghana’s most comprehensive business news website, www.citibusinessnews.com.

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