APN boss calls for commitment to achieve Africa’s financial interoperability

Executive Chairman and Founder of the Africa Prosperity Network (APN), Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko has made a compelling argument about the prospect of the continent achieving financial interoperability in the shortest possible time.

This economic integration he says is possible if African leaders are politically committed to aligning efforts and resources.

In his welcome address at the Continental Mobile Interoperability Symposium in Accra on Friday, July 5, 2024, at the Labadi Beach Hotel, Mr Otchere-Darko said achieving financial interoperability is not merely a technical and capacity hurdle.

“Imagine what it will mean for a young Ghanaian tailor, whose clothes on Instagram can be bought by consumers in Zimbabwe using Zimbabwean dollars not US dollars from that e-wallets with that tailor in Tamale receiving payment in Ghana cedis.

“The technology to do that is right before us. What is required is the will to make it happen. Currently, numerous telco operators and financial institutions operate in silos creating an environment of limited  interoperability which constrains the continent’s economic potential.”

He noted that while technological advancements and innovative financial solutions are essential, they must be supported by coherent policies and a unified vision among policymakers for efficient cross-border transactions and economic growth.

The Africa Prosperity Network Boss also pointed out that by harmonizing regulatory frameworks and fostering partnerships among various stakeholders, including governments, financial institutions, telcos and tech companies, African countries can overcome the barriers to financial inclusion and create a more integrated and prosperous continent.

“Above all we need the political will of African leaders and the courage and commitment of our Central Bank Governors to make cross-border interoperability happen. This Symposium is to look at how this can happen at the shortest possible time”, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko added.

The Continental Mobile Interoperability Symposium was held under the theme, “Scaling-up interoperability, Using Mobile Money to Buy and Sell.”

“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the organisers of this symposium for their dedication towards the launch of this initiative. Your commitment to foster collaboration and innovation in this crucial area is commendable, permit me to also add that the initiative to scale up cross-border payment interoperability aligns with the broader financial digitisation and inclusion agenda of the BoG”, Governor of Ghana’s Central Bank, Dr. Ernest Addison said.

Speakers at the symposium included Dr. Ernest Addison, Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG); Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communication and Digitalisation; Dr. Joe Anokye, Director General of the National Communication Authority (NCA); Dr. Ebiekure Jaspa Eradiri, President of the All Africa SME’s Association; and Kwame Oppong, Head of Fintech and Innovation at the Bank of Ghana.

Other notable speakers were Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana; Foster Awintiti Akugri, Transition Manager at The Innovation Village in Uganda; and Dome Scaffidi, President of SAPA Global Payment and Schemes.

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