Banks, telcos assess eCedi impact on MOMO

Banks and telecommunications companies have commissioned separate assessments into the potential impact of the eCedi on their operations, particularly the mobile money services (MOMO).
The outcomes are to enable the two major players to strategize how to maximize the gains and minimize the challenges that the digital cedi could pose to their businesses.

The Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the Ghana Telecommunications Chamber (GTC), Dr Ken Ashigbey and the Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB), John Awuah, disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in separate interviews last week.

MOMO angle
Dr Ashigbey and Mr Awuah said the assessments would focus mainly on the potential impact of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) on MOMO to both the banks and the telcos, as well as the possible effects of the eCedi on cash management among lenders.

They said the studies would also seek to increase the knowledge of the two sectors on the ecosystem and the general operational structure of the eCedi to help prepare members to participate fully in the rollout.

The two CEOs of the umbrella groups added that the outcomes of the assessments would inform the approach that banks and telcos should adopt in the lead up to the rollout of the eCedi.

Pilot phase
Dr Ashigbey and Mr Awuah were speaking to the paper after information emerged that the BoG was piloting the eCedi.

The Governor of the BoG, Dr Ernest Addison, said on May 30 that selected consumers at Sefwi Asafo, a farming community in the Western North Region, had started using the country’s digital currency to purchase goods and services, including food.

Dr Addison said the users, mostly inhabitants, were the privileged few chosen to pilot the eCedi that the central bank had been betting big on to help expand financial inclusion and drive up digitalization.

The CEO of the GTC said the chamber was aware of the pilot process, with Vodafone being the telco among the participating institutions.

“We have had some engagements with the regulator on the entire thing, including the pilot.

“With any new technology, there are positives and negatives and that is what we are trying to understand more,” Dr Ashigbey said.

“I am trying to get my members to look into the whole concept and see what it holds for us. Vodafone too will share their experiences for us to see what to improve upon,” he said. He added that while the eCedi presented opportunities to the telcos, it also presented challenges, hence the need for a comprehensive study into how it could affect the telecom industry.

On the potential impact of the eCedi on MOMO, the CEO of the GTC said it was too early to say.

“That is why we want to study it and see. The eCedi can have an effect on MOMO operations but there are ways that it can be deployed for MOMO to benefit, especially in the areas of settlement,” Dr Ashigbey said.

On his part, Mr Awuah of the GAB said banks saw the CBDC as beneficiary to their operations and were putting in place efforts to maximize the gains.

The CEO of the association said the digital cedi would complement the cedi notes, thereby impacting positively on currency management.

He said increased use of the eCedi could lead to a reduction in the currency management costs of the lenders as less banknotes would be processed and carted around.

“It will help drive the cash-lite society too. Again, people will have the tokens of the eCedi on their phones, not physical cash, where they can be subjects of attack.

“It will help with distribution of bulk cash. If you need funds in Tamale, you do not have to transport bulk cash there.

“You can just request the amount in the digital form and it will be sent,” he said.

These notwithstanding, Mr Awuah said banks were not sure of the full impact of the eCedi on their general operations.

Consequently, he said, “We are still assessing its impact, including on MOMO and the likes.”

eCedi replaces MOMO?
When asked if the eCedi could impact negatively on MOMO, Mr Awuah said, “I will not say it is going to complement MOMO. The cash-in and cash-out may be affected because this is fiat cash and you cannot withdraw.

“It will not replace MOMO. I do not see eCedi reversing or cannabalizing MOMO but that is why the assessment is being done to study the impact.

“We are commissioning a report on it. We are just trying to understand the ecosystem to see how it will affect our operations,” the CEO of the GAB said.

Source: Maxwell Akalaare Adombila(Graphic Business News)

Huawei lauded for its role in rural mobile network connectivity in Ghana

Leading global ICT company, Huawei has been acknowledged for playing a key role in expanding mobile network connectivity to some unserved and underserved rural communities in Ghana to drive digitalisation.

Huawei is the technical partner on the Rural Telephony Project which seeks to bring connectivity to over four million Ghanaians in underserved and unserved communities in Ghana.

This is through the use of the innovative RuralStar Solution jointly developed by Huawei and the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation.

Three communities in the Ahafo Region became the recent beneficiaries of the project when a team led by the Communications Ministry commissioned the new RuralStar sites for the people of Apenamedi Dantano and Anwiem communities in the Region to give them access to the mobile networks.

In her remarks to the Chiefs and people of Dantano and Anwiem all in the Asunafo South District, the Communications and Digitalisation Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful highlighted the benefits of network connectivity, hence the need to increase and improve infrastructure in that regard.

“The project is very critical to our digital inclusion project and we cannot wait for the telecom companies to do it alone because it may not be fast as we expected.”

She also called on the communities to take full advantage of their newly found connectivity to change their lives.

“The benefits of connectivity to your community goes beyond students using it to advance their knowledge, take advantage of services like Mobile Money, eCommerce, and explore new business opportunities and boost your existing businesses,” she added.

The Minister also acknowledged Huawei for the company’s role in jointly developing the RuralStar Solution which saves up to 60% on the cost of traditional cell sites to enable the government together with partners deploy sites to more rural communities to bridge the connectivity gap.

The Ahafo Regional Minister also called on the community to embrace digitalisation and leverage the availability of mobile connectivity to improve their livelihoods. He also commended Huawei and its partners for their contributions to the project.

As part of the Rural Sites commissioning marathon in the Ahafo Region, the Deputy Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ama Pomaa Boateng, inspected the newly completed Rural Telephony project site at Apenamedi in the Asutifi South District Region.

During the visit, the Deputy Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment to ensuring connectivity reaches everyone to facilitate the digital transformation process of government which Her ministry is spearheading.

She also complimented Huawei and the partners of the project for the good job done and entreated them to keep it up to ensure the goal of the project is achieved.

The Public Relations Manager for Huawei Ghana, David Appiah, reiterated Huawei’s commitment to the development of ICT infrastructure in Ghana.

“As a company, Huawei is committed to the development of ICT in Ghana, we shall continue to leverage our global expertise to complement the country’s digitalisation efforts.

“As an organisation, we have a vision of bringing connectivity to every community and our contributions to the RuralStar solution for the Rural Telephony Project is a testament to this,” he added

In Ghana, Huawei continues to complement digitalisation processes with a continuous focus on bridging the digital divide by connecting people and enabling information access across economic, social and geographic boundaries ensuring that more and more people enjoy conveniences brought by communications.

Source: MyJoyOnline

Otumfuo commends Vodafone for leading sustainable development in Ashanti Region

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has praised Vodafone Ghana for its enormous support for sustainable development in the Ashanti Region.

According to him, apart from Vodafone’s support for the prestigious Asantehene Open Golf Championship, it has introduced interventions that benefit everyone, especially women and children, for which he commended the company.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II said this when the senior management team of Vodafone Ghana paid a courtesy call on him at the Manhyia Palace last Friday.

The purpose of the visit was to announce plans to extend the sponsorship of the Asantehene Open Golf Tournament, which Vodafone has sponsored for 5 consecutive years since 2017.

Otumfuo commends Vodafone for leading sustainable development in Ashanti Region
Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Ghana, Patricia Obo-Nai, who led the delegation, said her outfit is excited to be sponsoring the Asantehene Open Golf Championship for another year.

She noted that the support of the sport was not only to strengthen Vodafone’s relationship with His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and the people of Asanteman but to promote sustainable development in the region through impactful initiatives.

“This year, we have named the month ‘Boa Asanteman’ as we seek to address the key sustainable development needs of the region. Together with His Royal Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s Foundation, we will address several issues. These include promoting healthy lives and wellbeing through our Healthfest initiative; reducing maternal mortality with our free ultrasound screening; driving free and inclusive education for everyone through our Instant Schools activations; empowering SMEs with digital skill training as part of our SME Clinics; and ensuring the environmental sustainability of the region with a tree planting exercise,” she said.

“We wish to inform His Royal Majesty that our 2022 Ashanti-month campaign begins today with this official visit,” she declared.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II thanked Vodafone for leading sustainable development in the Ashanti region and also for promoting health and education in the region. He urged the organization to continue its good work.

The Asantehene also used the opportunity to charge the Royal Golf Club in Kumasi to ensure that Vodafone gets the needed visibility as the headline sponsor of the Championship. Meanwhile, Otumfuo has encouraged the golfers and the wider community to patronize Vodafone’s products and services.

Source: MyJoyOnline

SIM card registration exercise deadline won’t be extended – Communications Minister

Minister of Communication and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, says the Ministry would not extend the set deadline for the nationwide SIM card registration exercise.

Consequently, she said all unregistered SIM cards would be deactivated by the end of July this year, and advised mobile phone users yet to register their SIM cards to do so.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful gave the caution during the climax of the Ahafo Regional celebration of the Girls-in-ICT Initiative held at Acherensua in the Asutifi South District on the theme “Access and safety.”

The Girls-in-ICT initiative, one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation (MoCD) was in line with the International Girls-in-ICT Day, an initiative introduced in 2012 and backed by all International Communications Unions (ITU) in the Member States.

It aimed at encouraging and empowering girls and young women to consider studies and careers in ICT in the growing fields of ICTs, enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector.

Under the initiative, 1,000 girls from selected basic schools in the Region had the opportunity to undergo a one-week intensive training in ICT in basic computing including programming, coding, gaming, scratch typing and a mentorship programme.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said mobile phone subscribers and users in the country had been provided with enough time and opportunity to register their SIM cards saying, “there is no way we are going to extend the deadline again.”

She explained that SIM card registration was essential because the exercise would greatly help the country in its efforts to prevent online and cybercrimes that had become more sophisticated.

Touching on the Girls-in-ICT initiative, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the Ministry was determined to sustain the initiative to create opportunities for more girls to benefit from ICT education.

She emphasised that ICT education was not reserved for only boys and men, but for girls and women as well, saying girls also needed ICT skills to provide them with the needed exposure in the digital space.

Source: Ghana News Agency (MyJoyOnine)