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Business News of Wednesday, 26 August 2020


Central Bank of Kenya vindicates Bawumia on mobile money interoperability

Vice President of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia Vice President of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

The Vice President of Ghana Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has been vindicated by the Central Bank of Kenya over his claims that Ghana’s Interoperability is unique in Africa and that no African country has been able to implement what Ghana has done.

The Mobile Money Payment is the service, which allows direct and seamless transfer of funds from one mobile money wallet to another mobile money wallet across networks, which was developed by Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) with the active collaboration of the Mobile Industry.

The First Phase of the two phases of the interoperability payments system customers was able to move monies freely from mobile money accounts across different networks and from their mobile money accounts to bank accounts without any hassle.

The second phase has also allowed the movement of monies between and among telecommunication operators, banks, and e-zwitch accounts in a seamless manner –and the flow is vice versa, to complete the Financial Inclusion Triangle.

Dr. Bawumia while speaking on Accra-based Peace FM stated that the introduction of the mobile interoperability into the financial space has facilitated the transaction of funds from the phone to a bank account with ease.

While speaking on digitisation, Dr Bawumia said, “Banking is now branchless…it is taking place on mobile phones and so having this mobile interoperability, it means that even if you have a mobile money account, you send it to your bank account and someone can send you money from the bank account to the mobile money wallet. So, the way we use current account in the bank, you can use the mobile account the same way… Ghana is the only country in Africa to do mobile interoperability.”

However, the Vice President who was touting this achievement as being the best and only system in Africa that allows the second phase of the interoperability during an interview on Accra-based Peace FM was challenged with claims that same system is happening in Kenya.

But a Press Release from the Central Bank of Kenya indicates that Kenya’s interoperability is between wallets of the same telecommunication companies and not from mobile telecommunication wallets to bank wallets.

“The benefits of “wallet-to-wallet” interoperability to customers will be immediate andsignificant. Customers wishing to transfer money across networks will avoid the cost and inconvenience of needing to reload or withdraw money through network agents. Customers’ mobile wallets will reflect funds immediately these are received, regardless of the network from which these funds are sent. Customers will also be able to withdraw the money in their wallets from the agents on their network, as is
currently,” the statement from the Kenya Central Bank said.

Dr Bawumia also said mobile money interoperability, before the NPP came into power, the erstwhile Mahama administration had awarded the contract for $1.2 billion.

“When we came, there was a contract to do the interoperability and that contract was to be done for $1.2 billion but at the end of the day, we looked at it, there were conditions that were not yet satisfied and the Bank of Ghana terminated the contract and instead of spending $1.2 billion to do mobile interoperability, we spent $4.5 million.”

Disclosing the gains of the mobile interoperability the Vice President said “Since 2018, when we did interoperability, Ghana has become the fastest-growing mobile money market in Africa, the fastest-growing and it is just very remarkable."

“Today, mobile money transactions, as of 2019, was 200 million transactions."

“If you look at banking transactions for 2019, it was 599,000…so, mobile money has been turned on its head now. Mobile money is more used than your traditional bank as banking transactions are only three per cent of the total,” the Vice President disclosed.