First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari has lauded leading Ghanaian tech company, IT Consortium for its immense role in the creation of government’s payments platform, Ghana.gov.
Ghana.gov is the yet to be launched government online platform through which Ghanaians can apply for passport, birth and death certificates, drivers license, register companies, pay utility bills and access many other service from state institutions and pay directly online.
It was conceptualized, designed and built by ITC and two other local fintechs, Hubtel and ExpressPay.
Speaking at the 20th Anniversary launch of ITC, Dr. Opoku-Afari said ITC’s contribution to the “conceptualization, designing and implementation of the flagship Ghana.Gov platform which is at the core of the digital economy project is laudable.”
Dr. Opoku-Afari noted that twenty years in the life of a FinTech in any part of the world is no mean achievement, adding that it becomes even more significant when placed in the context of a developing country, and “truly this achievement is monumental for both IT Consortium and Ghana.”
He recalled that ITC came on the scene at the time when BoG had commenced the interbank payment infrastructure but with very little consideration of the possibility of a technology company providing financial services.
His words: “In an era when the word “FinTech” was alien to the library of finance vocabulary and the thought of technology companies providing financial services would have been considered sacrilegious, IT Consortium was established.
The Deputy Governor noted that during the time ITC came on the scene, the regulatory regime did not recognize FinTechs, but key management personnel of the ITC frequently interacted with officials of the Central Bank on regulatory issues relentlessly.
Dr. Opoku-Afari stated that in spite of the somewhat hostile environment for Fintechs at the time, ITC demonstrated an unusual appreciation of BoG’s direction of financial sector development, and they have competently supported the digital transformation agenda of the Ghanaian financial services industry with digital solutions relevant to Ghana’s developmental needs.
“A stellar example is the chango crowdfunding product, the first of its kind by a licensed institution in Ghana, introduced to improve on the traditional “susu” model for raising funds among a group of persons,” he noted.
He acknowledged that IT Consortium’s commitment to the norms of the financial services industry over the years has been commendable, adding that it is no wonder then, that the company was one of the first few FinTechs to be licensed by the Bank of Ghana as an enhanced payment service provider.
According to the BoG Deputy Governor, it is remarkable for wholly-owned Ghanaian company staffed by persons trained in Ghana to have demonstrated such fidelity to the digital transformation agenda of the Ghanaian economy.
He vouched for the relevance of the solutions from ITC, saying that “Indeed, the successes of the company in the Ghanaian digital financial services ecosystem signifies the capacity of the Ghanaian to deal with the challenges confronting us as a country.”
Dr. Opoku-Afari however urged ITC, as pacesetter, to be a shining example and a beacon of hope to the many up and coming Ghanaian youth desirous of making a career in
the FinTech industry.
“The ecosystem in which you operate is also in a state of flux. In the midst of the excitement, you should not forget to strategize for the future,”
On his part, CEO of ITC, Romeo Bugyei recalled the hostility towards fintech 20 years ago, when institutions refused to allow any IT company access to their system and refused any suggestion of remote manage of their systems from a server outside their premises.
He also recalled how bluechip multinational IT companies denied local IT firms the opportunity to use their solutions locally, but all that has changed and now IT companies are winning big contracts and providing cloud services to lots of companies both here and abroad.
Romeo Bugyei urged his colleagues to collaborate with each other and to invest heavily in research to grow the industry to levels where Ghana becomes to hub of technology on the continent.
IT Consortium currently serves 19 commercial banks, 140 rural banks, telcos, insurance companies and several state and corporate organizations. They are the reason why it is possible for Ghanaians to pay utility bills, pay TV bills, schools fees and other things with their mobile money and bank accounts digitally.