Mobile Money (MoMo) Month has been held annually in Ghana since 2012 to create awareness about the digital payment platform, drive financial inclusion and reward thousands of customers, agents, and merchants.
The annual MoMo Month which is usually held in August is championed and celebrated by MobileMoney Limited (MML), a wholly owned subsidiary of Scancom PLC, operators of MTN Ghana.
MoMo Month has had several carefully chosen themes in the past and this month’s theme is: ‘Accelerating Growth in Digital Payments – The Role of Partnerships’.
Accra, Ghana//-With digitization and innovation at the forefront and consumers opting for fast and convenient ways to make payments and transactions, digital payments have come to stay.
Fostering and accelerating growth in digital payments requires the shared responsibility of all stakeholders, mainly-subscribers, regulators, partners, banks, media as well as other stakeholders in the digital finance sector.
Role of partnerships
For MobileMoney Limited (MML) to foster gains, build economies of scale in the sector and promote sustainable economic growth, it needs to leverage the power of collaboration and partnership.
“Again, we promote our MoMo business platform, the MoMo open API, the merchant App and consumer apps through sustainable partnerships.
This is mainly because we cannot grow the digital payments platform without collaborating with like-minded organizations”, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MobileMoniey Limited, Eli Hini, said at the launch of the MoMo Month at Rawlings Park in Accra.
Also the continuation of partnership with the banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions is accelerating digital payments in the country.
Additionally, the MML and its two other competitors- Airteltigo Money and Vodafone Cash whose operator, Vodafone Ghana is being sold to Telecel Group while waiting for regulatory approval, have partnered with several organizations to rollout key social empowerment projects.
These projects include helping digitize the Agriculture Value Chain through mAgric, POS in partnership with several banks and scaling up female participation within the MoMo merchant space.
Also, the advent of Mobile Financial Services by MTN Ghana in 2009 with nine banking partners has democratized mobile money transactions in the country.
The democratization of mobile money transactions in the Ghanaian economy has instigated a paradigm shift to a new kind of retail banking system where large segments of the unbanked populace are being absorbed into the financial services sector.
The Ghanaian banking sector was also innovating around this time. The Bank of Ghana (BoG) which regulates the digital payments sector as well as the banking and financial sector allowed the various commercial banks to develop innovative lower-cost products for consumers, MSMEs and the agriculture sector, among others.
BENEFITS OF ACCELERATING DIGITAL PAYMENTS
Indeed, digital payments offer significant benefits to individuals, companies, government, international development organizations, among others.
Industry experts believe that if the country’s payment platforms are fully utilized the socio economic benefits will be enormous.
Digital payments more attractive and convenient
Over the years MML and its executives have been working with other partners to develop solutions that make digital payments more attractive and convenient to customers across the length and breadth of the country.
So Ghanaians will no longer have to travel long distances to make payments and the emissions from the vehicles we commute in would have been reduced to protect the planet, Mr Hini added.
Furthermore, moving from the usual transfers, bill payments and loan acquisitions, the company introduced the MoMo Business Platform, a web platform that allows businesses to make bulk payments, pay bills, among others.
The MML’s MoMo open API (application programming interface) also allows other companies to integrate their platform with that of the company to receive payments.
“We also have the Merchant App that allows merchants to track transactions and manage their accounts and we have also introduced Consumer Apps, a self-service platform for customers to manage their accounts.
We need to make these digital payment options more attractive, eliminating all forms of challenges and providing a one stop shop for customers to perform all transactions end to end”.
Digitizing key initiatives
“The future really is digitization and how we can leverage it for the benefit of our citizens. This is why digitizing initiatives such as our flagship conditional cash transfer program Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) is a key milestone,” Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s Minister for Finance said.
The country is making considerable strides to improve transparency, accelerate opportunities for economic growth and empower women
Transparency and security can enhance traceability and accountability which will eventually lead to reduction of corruption and theft as a result.
For instance, a recent report analyzes risks incurred by individual purchasing clerks in cocoa value chains (including assault), due to the prevalence of cash.
Investing in infrastructure
80 percent of the population uses public essential services such as water and electricity, but only 20 percent of the population has access to digital technology such as smart meters.
By investing in smart distribution infrastructure that digitizes end-to-end delivery and payment, it will increase efficiencies and ease of use for citizens – ultimately increasing adoption.
Deepening financial inclusion
Digital payments are the surest way through which financial inclusion can be deepened.
These digital payment channels enable increasing access to a wide range of financial services, including savings accounts, credit and insurance products.
Digital payments are also the key drivers of financial inclusion- the availability and equality of opportunities to access financial services. So they are driving the effort to make financial services inclusive to all.
Cumulatively, the benefits outlined above help unlock economic opportunity for the financially excluded, and enable a more efficient flow of resources in the economy.
Digital payments have spread rapidly over the last decade in Ghana, Africa and across the world, yet, there is potential for growth.
By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, African Eye Report