MTN Ghana roots for National Data System to drive Financial Inclusion with Mobile Money

By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana

MTN Ghana has added its voice to the call for the speedy implementation of a National Identification System in Ghana.

Ghana’s leading telecommunication giant strongly believes that with a successful implementation of a National Infrastructure Identification database, Ghana will stand the chance of taking Mobile Financial Services and the digital strategy of the country to the next level.

The National Identification Program was initially rolled out in 2008 and later halted in 2014 due to what authorities describe as some interruptions. During the third quarter of last year the body in charge of carrying out the national identification programme, the National Identification Authority said it has thoroughly reviewed the challenges encountered in the past and have put appropriate measures in place to avoid such occurrences and ensure that the programme achieves optimum success in the come years ahead.

It even cited some of measures been put in place and these includes an upgrade of the 2D barcode card to smartcard (dual interface), data collection from age zero, card issuance from age zero, and existing 2D barcode cards to be issued to age zero to 14.

But unfortunately up till date and within the first quarter of 2018, the National ID system is yet to be implemented with many calling into question, the government’s commitment to ensuring that the system works.

Speaking on the theme  ‘Providing a connected lifestyle with BRIGHT Digital Service’ during this year’s MTN Ghana Stakeholders’ and Media Forum in Accra, the Vice President of Southern and East Africa for MTN and Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana, Ebenezer Twum Asante explained the urgent need for a centralize identification system that would help address some of the stumbling blocks impeding the smooth running of the e-government systems, curb the incidence of SIM box fraud and help improve access to mobile financial services.

Mr. Asante emphasized the central role been played by mobile money within the country’s digital innovation ecosystem and noted that with an effective implementation of a national identification database platform much can be achieved with little effort.

“The National Data Programme we’re talking about, again once it’s implemented, it’s going to help us take mobile financial services and digital strategy to the next level. Today it’s a limitation and it’s the reason why you may have to walk to some of the e-government footprint. But tomorrow if we’re serious about it and we’re able to implement a seamless national identification program and we integrate that into the Mobile Money platform, it will take the National Data Agenda from one level to maybe five levels higher.”

According to the MTN Ghana boss, mobile financial service is at the heart of every financial agenda, but it’s only a digital platform that can connect across industries. “When you are able to capture the entire ecosystem using mobile financial services, then you also put more and more data layers up and above that. But with without that your data fortune will be very very limited”.

With 90,000 active agent points across Ghana, MTN paid average monthly commissions of GHS19.6 million to its agents and GHS 98.9 million in interest to Subscribers from January 2016 to December 2017.

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