President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said his administration, since assuming office in 2017, has leveraged on technology to help reform and improve Ghana’s institutional and regulatory processes towards the creation of a digital economy.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the digital economy that has been established, as a result, “is supporting sustained economic growth, and improving the wellbeing of our citizens.”
Speaking at the 26th Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) African Regional Conference, held at the Kempinski Hotel, Accra, on Tuesday, the President highlighted the immense potential of technological innovations towards the transformation of economies across the world.
Outlining the initiatives rolled out by his Government towards the creation of the digital economy in Ghana, the President indicated that the national identification system, which requires, among others, that, a citizen has a digital property address, is being rolled out.
“These biometric national ID cards are being linked to other identification systems and databases, such as social security, driver’s license, and passports, to ensure we have a credible national database,” he said.
Secondly, President Akufo-Addo stated that Government has now completed the cycle of mobile money payments by linking mobile money wallets to bank accounts and the e-zwich card.
“This has created a level playing field for persons with or without bank accounts to conduct financial transactions, and is rapidly promoting financial inclusivity in Ghana,” he said.
The President continued, “The financial industry is witnessing significant growth, and with mobile money penetration in Ghana being the second highest in Africa, evidenced in mobile money transactions worth GH¢213 billion in 2018, up from GH¢78.5 billion in 2016, we anticipate that, with continued reforms to our payment systems, Ghana will have a strong competitive edge in the region for financial innovation and access to credit.”
Additionally, he revealed that Government has committed itself to having digital systems manage all government receipts and payments by 2020.
With caterers employed under the National School Feeding Programme, beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme, and recipients of nurses and teacher trainee allowances, amongst others, the President noted that this mode of payment is guaranteeing efficiency in the delivery of government services.
As these new trends unfold, and with the emergence of new payment streams in support of the digitisation agenda, the President indicated that steps have also been taken to strengthen the regulatory environment.
It will be recalled that the Bank of Ghana recently reviewed, amended and consolidated all existing payment system regulatory frameworks into the new “Payment Systems and Services Act” 2019, an Act which the President assented to last week.
The new legislation is to ensure that banks, non-banking financial institutions, and, especially, rural and community banks, provide services that will bring banking and financial transactions even closer to the public.
President Akufo-Addo noted that his Government’s agenda of creating a digital economy has naturally been extended to other sectors of the economy, with the introduction of the paperless port system, the e-justice system, and the digitising of land administration services.
Just as technology offers opportunities to grow our economies and bring progress to our peoples, the President stressed that there are criminal syndicates who will always be bent on exploiting it for their selfish interests, which, he said, have to be relentlessly fought.
With SWIFT working with Ghana to reduce vulnerabilities to these external risks, President Akufo-Addo urged the Bank of Ghana to make sure that Ghana’s financial sector remains fit for global integration, by ensuring compliance with international standards.
In addition to the establishment of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to oversee and coordinate Ghana’s nation’s cybersecurity programmes, the President noted that “we have developed the Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) ecosystem, and instituted cybersecurity awareness programmes and other initiatives, which have set Ghana on the path to developing a robust national cybersecurity system.”