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Indigenous banks urged to leverage technology to reduce unbanked population – UMB CEO – Citi Business News

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Indigenous banks are being urged to leverage technology to reduce the number of unbanked Ghanaians in the system. According to the CEO of the Universal Merchant Bank Nana Dwemoh Benneh the time is right to tackle this long-standing issue within the financial sector.

According to the World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), only 58 percent of Ghana’s adult population had access to formal financial services in 2015.

Meanwhile, the National Financial Inclusion and Development Strategy, a document developed by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with financial sector regulators and other key stakeholders, states that by 2017, only 1,491 bank branches were in Ghana, put in other words, there were 8.6 banks per 100,000 adults during that time, while there were about 11.5 automated teller machines (ATMs) per 100,000 adults.

Ultimately, the strategy seeks to increase financial inclusion from 58 percent of Ghana’s adult population to 85 percent by 2023.

In an interview with Citi News on the prospects of Ghana’s Banking sector, the CEO of the Universal Merchant Bank Nana Dwemoh Benneh noted that the time was right for local banks to leverage technology to reach the unbanked population while also taking advantage of the emerging opportunities on the continent.

“I think we have a unique opportunity at this particular moment to take advantage of the transformative developments happening within the system. We’ve talked about the unbanked for a very long time, and I think with what the Fintech’s are doing and what is happening with technology in general, we can start to tackle this in a very meaningful way.”

“The AFCFTA is out there. They’ve also launched a Pan-African payment system which provides unique opportunities for linkages across different countries. The new things associated with the evolving developments offer unique opportunities, and that’s why we are optimistic that even being an indigenous bank we can spread our tentacles to other geographies,” he added.



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We’re committed to investing more in Ghana – MTN Group CEO

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Telecom gaint, MTN, has given the firm assurance of investing more in Ghana despite the current economic environment.

Speaking at a media engagement in Accra, visiting Group Chief Executive of MTN, Ralph Mupita said his outfit has taken the decision because of Ghana’s role in the group and return on investments.

He added that “we want to have a sustained investment programme so that in a market like Ghana, every Ghanaian has the capacity to enjoy the benefits of a modern connected life. And we are not changing view.”

“So if we are true to that vision, then we must sustain the CAPEX [Capital Expenditure]; and therefore we are not going to review that commitment when it comes to investment in Ghana,” he explained.

We're committed to investing more in Ghana - MTN Group CEO
Group Chief Executive of MTN, Ralph Mupita

There are fears that due to the current challenges facing the economy which has resulted in inflation hitting 23.6% in April 2022 as well as rising taxes on the company’s operations, MTN might have reviewed its capital expenditure.    

But the Group Chief Executive of MTN said otherwise, saying, it’s committed to aligning itself to a programme like the Ghana Cares initiative by the Government of Ghana.

MTN and the E-Levy

On the tax on Electronic Transfers popularly known as E-Levy, the Group Chief Executive said, for now, MTN sees it as a burden-sharing with government in terms of addressing the current challenges facing the economy.

Mr. Mupita, however, pointed out that it’s too early to find out the impact of the E-levy on its operations, but can only do so in six months’ time.

Localisation of MTN 

The Group Chief Executive of MTN intimated his outfit is committed to increasing the stake that Ghanaians can hold in MTN Ghana.

MTN, in 2018, issued about 12.5% of its shares to the public.

But presently, the investing public hold about 23.7% stake in the telecom giant.

“We are looking to offload about 30% and we’ve made a lot of progress on that. 30% is the target and that is the commitment as group.”

The Group CEO added that as a company “we want more and more Ghanaians to enjoy and participate in the economic success of Ghanaians and the business.”



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GITFiC 2022 to focus on efficient mobile money penetration in Africa

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With the growth of mobile money and electronic money transfers, stakeholders in the sector are poised to discuss its challenges and new methods to enhance its efficiency at the 6th Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFiC).

The event which will take place again in Accra, on 23rd and 24th May, 2022 will have the Chief Executive of the Ghana Telecommunications Chamber, Dr. Ing. Ken Ashigbey as its Chief Executive

GITFiC 2022 seeks to update the evidence base of what is currently available in terms of reviewing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), data on digital trade, and in doing so, identifying potential options for estimating the value of cross border payment & settlement given the current data gaps.

The 6th Conference will, this year, consolidate the conversation from the 5th Conference on the AfCFTA and the Role of Local Governance in helping with extensive sensitisation, education, and preparing the minds of the business communities within the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District localities.

 The Vice President of VISA, MasterCard, Swift’s Senior Country Director for Western Africa, Chief Executive of Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Chief Executive of the Association of Micro-finance Institutions in Kenya, and the Regional Head of Société Général in West Africa based in Abidjan makes up the first panel on day one for discussion.

The theme is “Towards an Effective and Efficient Mobile Money Transactional Penetrations in Africa; A Catalyst to solving Cross Border Payment & Settlement, an Anticipated-Barrier within the AfCFTA; – The Role of Financial Regulators and Stakeholders”.

The second day of the conference christened; the Trade Minister’s Panel, will see some selected Trade Ministers within the continent joining the conclave.

The final panel discussion on day 2 is on the theme “Leveraging on the pillars of Trade-Finance – A catalyst for Industrial Growth and Acceleration Post Pandemic; the Role of Payment, Financing, Risk Mitigation, and Access to Information”.

This panel will seek to address current woes facing industries due to the prolonged restrictions on the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and the post pandemic – the available finance options for industry.

The Vice President of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, the Head of Trade Finance at the African Development Bank, the Ivorian President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Special Advisor to the Ivorian President of the Federation of SMEs comprise the third panel.



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Akufo-Addo urges African countries to work together and fully utilise AfCFTA

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President Nana Akufo-Addo has urged African countries to integrate more closely through competitive business, political cooperation, and investment to establish an African Beyond Aid agenda. According to him, African countries should make the most of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by adding value to their resources before exporting them, in order to accrue more revenue.

Speaking at the Academy of African Business and Development’s 22nd Annual Conference, President Akufo Addo said African economies can be transformed through value added industrialisation.

“African countries need to work more closely, deeply and competitively through trade to enhance initiatives. Together, we need to build our continent and hold each other up.”

“That’s the only way we can grow organically”, he added.

He also called on African countries to double their efforts to develop in a sustainable manner and take responsibility for its sustainable growth.

He claimed that while Africa was the richest continent in the planet, the vast majority of its people were the poorest.

The president commended the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), through the agency of OPSA for hosting the annual Academy of African Business and Development conference.

Simon Sigue, President of the Academy of African Business and Development, argued that Africa’s intra-trade activity should be expanded to improve economies.

“Africa’s economy is growing. When you look at it you could see, but we need to have a connection to build each other together”, he stated

The AABD annual conferences aim at facilitating multi-disciplinary research by stimulating collaborations between Africa based researchers and professionals and their counterparts around the world.

This is done by broadening and deepening global understanding of various issues relevant to Africa’s business and development, as well as advancing solutions to some of her challenges.



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