“Your generation will determine how well the world commercializes fundamental breakthroughs in areas such as new energy technologies, biotech and fintech.” – Mark Carney, Bank of England Boss.
The above quote is attributed to the Bank of England’s boss, Mark Carney during a commencement speech at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Back here in Ghana, the 2016 edition of Africa Mobile & ICT Expo (MOBEX) ended with a Barcamp session exploring ways to make much gain in the area of information communication technology-especially championing a cashless society with payment platforms as the drivers. Barcamps in Ghana bring people interested in Ghana together for an informal networking forum where attendees share ideas, discuss interests, network and learn how to add value to their lives and make impact in their communities. MOBEX seeks to direct the global spotlight on local Ghanaian and African technological innovations, in terms of attracting investments to breakthrough into the international market. Basically, the African Innovations Arena is aimed at, first and foremost, demonstrating that with the needed push Africa can equally contribute into the global tech innovations basket and not only good as adopters and consumers.
At a Barcamp session to wrap up activities for the 2016 edition of MOBEX, many of these local app developers striving to make a mark on the fintech industry both locally and internationally showcased their apps and explored ways to make it gain the necessary scale needed to achieve such feat. Aside these strides being made, there are some other related issues to be addressed.
Local app developers are teaming up with counterparts in the diaspora to deliver apps to compete in the fintech space.
SIKA is a personal finance app that replaces a typical bank account with a smarter financial experience, all done on a mobile phone. SIKA plans to start this journey with a major global money transfer service.
At the heart of this app is the promise to save users the stress in waiting in line at a mobile money vendor or the local bank. Doing business has taken a whole new twist and the old means are giving way to innovative ways to addressing these same old business challenges. Now with the apps like SIKA app, you can send and receive funds from anywhere around the globe under sixty seconds. What this means for businesses is that, they can transact business with other businesses without carrying huge sums of money on them and can pay for services at the speed of light.
Many clients in this part of the world and mostly worldwide are very much concerned about the security of their funds, and its one key part SIKA rides high. Klenam Fiadzoe is a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of SIKA, he assures, “we are 110% dedicated to keeping your money and transactions safe and secure. We believe that security is a core requirement of trust.”
Co-founders Paul Miller and Klenam Fiadzoe are creating a global fintech company from Silicon Valley and Accra.
Mazzuma was born out of the frustration of finding efficient ways to pay online especially in emerging markets. Traditional payment systems have a long processing time and need several requirements from users. Many users often have to sign up and may pay extra transaction fees. Mazzuma is simply an online payment gateway that allows you to pay on selected online portals and stores using your mobile money account.
“Ultimately, Mazzuma is the payment system that will finally bring freedom to the world of online payments,” Co-founder of Mazzuma Nii Osae Osae Dade assures.
These two are part of the army of app developers battling the storms to take part in the fintech industry which is taking over the space and opportunity created by fintech.
But there are some general concerns as to how local developers can collaborate to gain much scale in this emerging field. Most of these app developers are solving the same challenges and the need to build partnerships and collaborate is very paramount. Competing with the giants from Silicon Valley and other “tech development-friendly” ecosystems makes it very imperative for these local developers to foster such collaborations. And luckily in Ghana, some incubators are around encouraging such collaborations and partnerships. Meltwater and Servled are pushing this agenda and also giving some assistance in the form of training to these “techpreneurs.”
One other concern generally with consumers of these apps is that of trust and security. And with the promise by these apps to ensure a secured and efficient app to partake in the fintech space consumers are guaranteed that and more education need to be done to address these legitimate concerns. The perceptions about these apps locally need much to be done to sway consumers to download and use them.
On the issue of regulations, the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlements Systems, GhIPSS; a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bank of Ghana is mandated to implement and manage interoperable payment system infrastructures for banks and non-bank financial institutions in Ghana. They must be seen to be putting in place the appropriate regulations and enforcing these to safeguard the consumer, the developers and the investors who bank their fortunes in this new and emerging industry in our local tech ecosystems. It must be seen to work and allay the fears of local app developers that it is not competing with them in the market space they operate.
MTN alone transacts about Ghc 3 billion a month, the other telecos operating mobile money services are catching up, the fintech space looks promising but the regulations bit need to be sorted as soon as possible since this industry is in its infancy here in Ghana.
Author: Paa Swanzy-Esssuman || firstname.lastname@example.org