Dr Ernest Addison, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, says the payments systems will be key to the success of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He said a supportive payment and settlement system can be used as a strategic tool to enhance and facilitate the African regional integration drive, increase competitiveness, and improve Africa’s position in the international financial system.
The governor was speaking at the end of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) 2022 Public Forum on the role of payment systems in the success of the AfCFTA Forum, an annual event by the GAAS, was part of efforts to bridge the gap between Academia, practice, and the public.
This year’s sessions were sponsored by UMB as part of its 50thanniversary celebrations.
He said a strong and well-regulated African financial infrastructure could deepen the benefits of intra-regional trade, eliminate the use of a third currency for settlement, improve liquidity management of firms, and reduce transaction costs.
Professor EboTurkson of the Department of Economics at the University of Ghana, said there was the need to heavily invest in hard and soft infrastructure to cut down the cost of intra-African trade.
Prof.Turkson illustrated how it was cheaper for a Ghanaian business to trade with Europe than with their African counterparts. “Without infrastructure development, African Trade will work,” he added.
Nana Dwemoh Beneh, the Chief Executive Officer of UMB, argued that syndication was critical for Ghanaian Banks to partake in the financing deals critical to building the soft and hard infrastructure needed to facilitate intra-African trade.
He said Ghana had an advantage as structures like the Development Bank and the EXIM Bank allowed the banking sector to provide the needed muscle for such syndications.
Prof. Kofi OpokuNti, the Vice-President of the Academy, commended the management of UMB for supporting the forum.
He said this was the kind of collaboration that was critical for innovation in Ghana.