A 2-day Payment Innovation Summit – West Africa has been held at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra. The Summit welcomed C-Suite professionals, policy makers and industry leaders from the region’s financial sector, to share knowledge and engage in a quest to enhance access to finance by adopting superior methods in digital payment transformation.
In a keynote address on the topic “Open Banking and Financial Inclusion: The Path to Digital Transformation”, Dr Reda Helal, Managing Director, Group Processing Business – Africa & Co-Head Group Processing Business for Network International, happily noted that “we are heading towards a cashless system”, a digital transformation. He said however, that every country has its priorities and demands and would have to be approached differently in terms of the strategies to adopt to get everyone on board the digital wagon. He advised players in the financial industry to work hard to make their brands top-of-mind especially in this competitive market.
Panelists who discussed the topic, “Bringing Smart Policies to Life in Financial Inclusion and Integrity”, argued that it was necessary to facilitate the easy transfer of monies amongst nations.
One panelist noted that out of about 8 billion in the world, 3 billion are out of the financial bracket and 95% of these 3 billion was in Africa, thus making Africa a huge potential market to be tapped into.
As Network International continues to make its presence felt on the African continent, the panelists pointed out that a central credit bureau was a good thing to have because it would have a data system showing persons who have borrowed monies from one point and such people would not be allowed to borrow from other financial institutions unless they have paid back the previous loans taken.
The Panelists also reiterated the need for a lot of communication and education for these ideals to be realised.
Another panel which discussed “Digital Access: Deepening Financial Inclusion in West Africa”, noted that a deliberate effort must be made to get people into the financial space. The panelists noted that people needed to have access to the digital devices such as phones so they could access the digital platforms. They also called for a possible reduction of interest rates for borrowing from financial institutions to attract more people to the financial world. Network charges of telephone companies should also be made more affordable while the connectivity and interconnectivity of these networks are improved upon.
The Director of Inclusive Banking at Fidelity Bank Ghana Ltd, Ms Esi Mills-Robertson called for a deliberate attempt to get women and the youth into the fold.
An honorary award ceremony was held at the end of the day to celebrate and recognize key players within the region’s financial sector.