Late last week, Ghana’s Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia, spoke at a conference on the topic of facilitating trade, as well as the role of the financial services sector.
His commentary included statements which noted that a “single central payment” will help ameliorate the challenges associated with international trade. At the same time, he explained that the digitization of Ghana’s economy is critical.
“Dr. Bawumia is really speaking the same language as others in Ghana’s leadership circle. Consistency breeds results. It appears as though the country’s leadership is absolutely committed to digitization, and I think that they’ve hit the nail on the head. The best way to expand the African economy is by working to make sure that it is as conducive to technology and innovation as possible,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.
“Digitization has also become one of the most consequential policies of the Nana Akufo-Addo government. When the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic hit and forced many economies into partial and total lockdowns, it reinforced the need to pursue digitization,” Bawumia is quoted as saying.
“There’s no question that Ghana will benefit from being an early adopter to the CBDC movement. It will likely result in the country getting a better seat at the proverbial table, in the realm of international monetary policy. But, aiming to digitize the economy… that’s something that will pay additional dividends over time. There’s no reason that Ghana, and places like Ghana, shouldn’t strive to be as tech friendly as possible. There’s literally no downside to using public policy initiatives to promote technology,” opined Gardner.
“It’s silly to say that Ghana has the infrastructure currently in place to compete with tech hubs like Tel Aviv. But, a country needs to start somewhere, and Estonia is proof that you can radically transform the culture in a way that pays economic dividends. It may take some time and a bit of investment, but now is the time to make that investment. Blockchain technologies are the new frontier of the fintech sector. If I were advising the leadership of Ghana, I would tell them to keep going. Double-down on tech. If pursued competently, it could completely transform the country’s economic future,” said Gardner.
Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable exchanges, with a client list which includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.
“Especially if you compare Ghana to its neighbors, it is in a good regional position to make the most out of this technological revolution. Accra doesn’t have to compete with Tel Aviv or Tallinn. It has to show that it is a regional player, and, perhaps, leader in technology. The public policy goal should be to position Accra as the place to invest if you’re a fintech company looking to break into the African market. Simultaneously, the country should promote their own farm team — use public policy initiatives to develop technologists and innovators right there in Ghana. Developing local talent is key to building the culture and illustrating that homegrown success is possible,” said Gardner.