Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing at DreamOval, Charles Kollo is urging government to speed up the process of mainstreaming financial technology (FinTech) companies in the national digitization agenda, to make Ghana a tech hub in the West African sub-region.
In an exclusive interview with TechGh24, Charles Kollo noted that Ghana is on the verge of becoming the tech hub in the West African sub-region, given the diversity and innovative tech and digital solutions put out by the tech industry players in the country.
He said government needs to quickly harness the several FinTech solutions on the market and quickly mainstream them into the Digital Ghana Agenda by ensuring that all government agencies are connected to the FinTech platforms and are using them regularly for transactions.
“Government needs to digitize all of its agencies and integrate them with the local FinTech platforms so that we can have the right tech ecosystem largely based on our own innovations instead of depending on tech companies abroad,” he said.
Charles Kollo noted that the new FinTech Desk at the Bank of Ghana is a step in the right direction, saying that discussions are currently ongoing between the regulator and industry players with the end game being the proper integration of FinTechs into the national digital ecosystem.
“But that process needs to expedited, particularly now that COVID-19 has caused a spike in the usage of digital platforms for almost every activity, include financial transactions, meetings and other things,” he said.
It would be recalled that recently the Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful announced that government has established the Smart Workplace system which integrates all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly (MMDAs) to have seamless and safe transactions amid COVID-19.
The system is also designed to help public sector workers work effectively from home and to serve clients more efficiently.
Besides that, some FinTech companies provide payment solutions for some government institutions like Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Passport Office and many more. Others also provide solutions for various private businesses.
Recently, the Vice President also noted that through mobile money and the interoperability platform, some 15 unbanked Ghanaians now have access to banking services as though they have bank accounts.
But the FinTech companies, that enable most of these back-office solutions, remain on the fringes without any proper integration from the center. They have mostly had to bid for contracts on their own to make companies use their solutions.
Charles Lokko thinks it is time for government to take the FinTechs more seriously and enjoin state agencies to integrate them and use their solutions.
He noted that one thing COVID-19 has thought every country in the world is to develop and consume local products and services, saying that this is the time for government to put FinTechs at the center and reap the full benefits of their solutions for national development.
Elsewhere in the world, FinTechs have been mainstreamed to the extent that some of them have been given full banking licenses and are called neobanks, even though they do not run physical banks.
Regulators recognize their digital banking solutions as enough for them to be categorized as banks offering a full range of banking services.
The DreamOval executive believes this can happen in Ghana if the FinTech companies are properly mainstreamed.
DreamOval was established in 2007 by students of Ashesi University who graduated that year with a dream to provide relevant tech solutions for businesses here in Ghana and elsewhere. Currently, it has footprints in Ghana, Mozambique and Cote d’Ivoire. It has products like SlydePay, Billbox for Banks, Billbox for Businesses, Billbox Remit and Billbox Merchant Calculator among others.