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Africa Regional Partner
Over 250 people came to this year’s Euromoney Ghana West Africa Conference, which was held in Accra on 25 September. The choice of Ghana as a country to host this conference reaffirmed its efforts in embracing innovative and disruptive technology as a tool for financial inclusion. Our plan was to bring together key players in the fintech space – governments, regulators, banks, payment providers, innovators and investors – in one room, to give a strategic overview of how fintech and innovation are coming together and driving a fundamental reshaping of the financial services industry.
The conference opened with a keynote address from Dr Ernest Addison, Governor of Bank of Ghana, who reiterated that it requires a strong and resilient financial sector to build a proper digital financial ecosystem. This was followed by an address from HE Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, who stressed that in an era of rapid technological innovation, we would be deluding ourselves if we turned to the old way of running the economy. He believes Ghana to be on the right track but highlighted the importance of staying the course and looking after the long-term interests of Ghana and not short term political expediency. He also mentioned various systems and projects that have been put in place earlier this year such as the new mobile money payments interoperability system. Ghanaians can be proud that it is one of the most advanced in Africa and allows for the seamless movement of funds between the triangle of mobile wallets, bank accounts and e-switch cards. He also mentioned the digitisation of land records and the e-justice project.
Henry Baye of lead sponsor Standard Chartered concluded the morning’s keynote sessions by answering questions on the bank and digital financial services. The conference then welcomed panellists from BitPesa, S&P Global, SOAS University of London, co-sponsor Zenith Bank (Ghana) Limited and IBM to discuss how technology is changing the way the financial system works.
After the coffee break, Angela Mensah-Poku of co-sponsor Vodafone Ghana talked us through why mobile money is key to financial inclusion. She urged that Vodafone is open to digital ninjas and Fintech entrepreneurs working off their platform to create new solutions.
The focus of the sessions then turned to start-ups. When we asked speakers where they saw most innovation happening in the local start-up scene, both MEST and Kumasi Hive mentioned the agri-tech industry without hesitation. It is the new thing, they said, that everyone wants to be part of. Our session on how can agriculture and technology create growth delved into that further. Saqib Nazir of Interpay Africa also highlighted that funding is still an issue in Ghana. There are many grants available but from an investor’s point of view, there is huge disparity between what is happening in Silicon Valley and what is happening on the ground.
The afternoon continued with a powerful interview with mPharma’s chief financial officer, Dufie Addo. Healthcare is talked about a lot, she said, but it is not the most glamorous or profitable sector to be in. As a start-up, you need to be quick to be honest with yourself when it is not working out, she advised. Stay committed to whatever strategy you have. That is key when attracting investors.
The day came to a close with an interesting panel on building a digital financial ecosystem with speakers from supporting organisation KPMG, CGAP – World Bank Group, BFA, co-host Bank of Ghana, and Branch International.
Euromoney would like to thank our co-host, Bank of Ghana, and all our sponsors, speakers and delegates, without whom the event would not have been possible. We look forward to welcoming you all to the event again in 2019. For those of you who missed it, make sure to register early next year!
For sponsorship enquiries for 2019 please contact Odeta Konomi via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone +44 (0) 207779 8821.
For speaking enquiries for 2019 please contact Sara Leech via email email@example.com or via telephone +44 (0) 207779 8819.
Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City Accra