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Mobile interoperability holds potential to replace Africa’s single currency dream- Bawumia


Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia says mobile interoperability, which enhances cross-border payments, holds the potential to replace Africa’s single currency dream.

He noted that the inability of the respective African countries to achieve macro-economic convergence, which was one of the major prerequisites of the single currency agenda, had denied its implementation on the continent.

The Vice President said it was time the continent moved from the attainment of macro-economic convergence to digital convergence to promote cross-border payments and intra-African trade.

“One of the major problems of achieving a common currency, even if you look at it within the context of the West African monetary zone, was the difficulty of our respective countries in attaining the macroeconomic convergence criteria.

That was a major problem, and since 1999, when the West African monetary Zoom project started, we’ve not had a situation where all our countries have been able to consistently achieve the key convergence criteria, whether you are talking about inflation, the deficit, the reserves, or excessive depreciation.”

” It has been difficult, and it has been a target; therefore, we keep moving anytime we come close, and we say we will achieve it in 2020.

“We then extended it to 2025 or 2028, which is a constantly moving target that we have. The reality is that it has been difficult in our countries. So, I believe that if we are serious about it, we can work towards mobile money interoperability at the continental stage.

“And therefore, we should move away in this regard from the macroeconomic convergence criteria to the digital payments convergence criteria,“ he said.

The Vice President said this at the Africa Prosperity Network Interoperability Symposium, which was held in Accra.

Dr. Bawumia urged regional and sub-regional monetary institutions, notably the African Monetary Zone and West African Monetary Zone, to shift their strategy from achieving a single currency in the region to achieving mobile interoperability.

Dr. Ernest Addison, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, advocated a harmonised regulatory framework among African countries to enhance cross-border payments through the interoperability of digital services.

Mobile interoperability

He said the initiative to achieve cross-border interoperability in Africa would require cooperation, the establishment of a transparent digital ecosystem, and the promotion of financial inclusion.

One of the key challenges of cross-border payment in Africa has been the increased cost of multi-currency in the African countries, as out of 54 countries on the continent, 41 currencies are currently used in the country.

Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, the Executive Chairman and Founder of Africa Prosperity Network (APN), said numerous mobile operators and financial institutions worked in silos, creating an environment of limited interoperability that constrained Africa’s economic potential.

He underscored the relevance of the symposium, noting that it was a step towards unlocking the full potential of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).

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Source: GNA

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