Harmonized regulation non-negotiable, says BoG Governor on boosting intra-African trade

Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr. Ernest Addison has acknowledged the critical role of a harmonized regulatory framework and strategic partnerships among digital space players in achieving broad financial sector inclusion and enhancing intra-African trade.

Speaking at the Continental Mobile Interoperability Symposium by the Africa Prosperity Network in Accra, Dr. Addison stressed that a unified approach to regulations across African nations would ensure seamless integration of financial services, fostering trust and reliability in cross-border transactions.

Africa has made giant strides in FinTech development and regulation, particularly with its leadership role in the mobile money technology space. This notwithstanding, achieving cross-border interoperable mobile money systems would require harmonised regulatory frameworks, consistent technical standards, and robust infrastructure.

In addition, strong public-private partnerships, involving mobile network operators, financial institutions, FinTechs, and regulators would address technical challenges and ensure regulatory compliance.

He highlighted the importance of collaboration between governments, financial institutions, and tech companies to create a robust digital infrastructure that supports innovation while safeguarding financial stability.

“On a more positive note, the foundational elements necessary to implement this idea of cross-border payment interoperability are partly in place in some African countries. These include regulatory sandbox programmes, progressive regulatory frameworks, and a dynamic FinTech sector, eager for growth opportunities. However, what may be lacking is collaboration among stakeholders.”

“Effective collaboration between regulators, financial institutions, mobile money operators, FinTech innovators, and other stakeholders is crucial to address technical challenges, ensure regulatory compliance, build trust and drive the scalability and sustainability of cross-border mobile money and other interoperability initiatives. By fostering a collaborative ecosystem, Africa can harness its FinTech advancements to unleash the full potential of interoperable mobile money systems, benefiting both individuals and countries across the continent”, the Governor added.

Dr. Addison also noted that such partnerships could drive the adoption of digital financial services, making them accessible to underserved populations and small businesses, thereby stimulating economic growth and reducing poverty.

His remark was to underscore the need for collective efforts to overcome the challenges hindering financial inclusion and intra-African trade adding that Africa can unlock its economic potential and achieve sustainable development by leveraging technological advancements.

“Other strategies that would ensure the adoption and long-term system reliability of cross-border payment interoperability include customer education and trust, scalability, and system sustainability, as well as inclusive access, which is essential for all segments of society, including rural and underserved populations.

“Policy coordination and governance are also essential for smooth operation and compliance in a multi-country environment. By implementing these strategies, African countries can facilitate efficient cross-border transactions and promote financial inclusion to stimulate economic growth.”

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