By Adu Koranteng
The Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has launched Phase Two of the Mobile Money Interoperability platform in Accra.
The launch of Phase two of the Interoperability platform concludes the Financial Inclusion Triangle, and ensures universal interoperability, making Ghana one of the few countries in the world to attain this feat.
Phase One of the project, launched on May 10th, 2018 saw the interconnection of the mobile money platforms and the Ghana National Switch (gh-link system), but not the E-zwich Payment Systems. This allowed users to make payments from Mobile Money wallets to bank accounts, and vice versa. It also allowed the transfer of funds between the various mobile money services provided by the telecom companies.
The second phase has completed the interconnection between Mobile Money and the e-zwich Payment Systems. Thus, the interconnection of mobile money and e-zwich platforms, to the gh-link platform means customers can conveniently move funds across all three platforms: bank accounts, Mobile Money wallets and the e-zwich payment systems.
Speaking at the launch ceremony on Wednesday 28th November, 2018, Vice President Bawumia, said this universal interoperability – known by players in the fintech and banking circles as the Financial Inclusion Triangle, because it interconnects three payment platforms; mobile money, bank account and e-zwich – is expected to remove the constraints faced in trying to move funds around, in real time.
“This should make us more efficient and enable us to accomplish more within the same time available to us. All of these important initiatives are in sync with other programmes by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government to quicken the digitization of the economy.
“Importantly, it will improve financial inclusion by bridging the gap between the banked and unbanked. It will also enable free flow of funds between and among all the three platforms; allowing the banked and the unbanked to interact at the same level.”
The benefits to business and ordinary Ghanaians will be enormous, with endless possibilities on the horizon, Vice President Bawumia indicated.
“The quick flow of funds enabled by the universal interoperability, should also translate into quick turnaround for businesses, because producers, wholesalers and retailers can receive funds in real time in order to deliver the goods to customers, regardless of which part of the country, they find themselves.
“The possibilities are enormous, and I expect the Fintechs to take advantage and collaborate with the banks and other financial institutions to give us great products.”
With the conclusion of phase two, Vice President Bawumia said it was time to work on Phase Three.
“It is said that the best reward for a good work is more work. So let me once again, in the spirit of transforming our economy, task the partners to this project, to take on an additional challenge – call it phase 3.
“The phase 3 that I propose, is mobile money operator/agent/or merchant interoperability. By this I mean, that it should be possible for an operator, agent or merchant with one phone and SIM, to be able to load electronic funds onto the wallet of the customer regardless of the network.
“An agent currently needs to keep different float accounts for each operator to serve customers. So, when the float of the agent for a particular operator runs out, the agent is not able to serve customers from that operator even though he or she may have electronic funds sitting idle on another network.
“So you see agents turn away customers not because they do not want to serve them, but they simply cannot use the float they have for one network operator for another.
“The status quo is not efficient and affects both the agent’s output and profitability as well as puts a spoke in the wheels of the cash-lite agenda. Let me therefore ask you to work together to fix this challenge, so that anybody who walks into an agent’s location can get service once there are electronic funds available.
“I think it is a normal sequence to what we have achieved so far, and I urge all the key parties to ensure we chalk this success too, so that customers can have wider access to mobile money service.”
Vice President Bawumia commended the Board and Management of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS), Bank of Ghana, Financial technology (Fintech) companies, the telecommunication companies, and all the partners for their cooperation and contribution towards the attainment of Mobile Money Interoperability in Ghana.