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Africa should prioritise Mobile Money Interoperability, not single currency – Bawumia

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Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has proposed a significant policy shift away from pursuing a single currency among African countries.

Instead, he is advocating for interconnected payment platforms, emphasizing the interoperability of Mobile Money services as a superior strategy to bridge financial gaps and enhance intra-Africa trade.

While African leaders traditionally prioritize macroeconomic stability for a common currency, Dr. Bawumia argues that Africa’s challenges in meeting economic convergence criteria highlight the efficacy of financial interoperability systems in facilitating seamless cross-border transactions.

Addressing the Continental Mobile Interoperability Symposium organized by the Africa Prosperity Network in Accra, Dr. Bawumia underscored the transformative potential of making Mobile Money interoperable across the continent.

“Making mobile money interoperable allows our citizens across the continent to trade seamlessly and so this is where I believe as African countries we need to focus on. One of the common problems of achieving a common currency was the difficulty of our respective countries in achieving the macro-economic convergence.”

“The idea of a common currency which came in 1963 has really been overtaken by the digital payment age that today you can think about mobile money as a common currency. If we make it interoperable, we don’t need to have the common currency before we get the benefits.”

He emphasised that this approach could effectively function as a “common currency” in the digital age, eliminating the need for a unified physical currency to reap economic benefits.

“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 macro-economic convergence criteria to digital payment convergence criteria,” the Vice President added.

Dr. Ernest Addison, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the pivotal role of a harmonized regulatory framework and collaborative partnerships in fostering broader financial sector inclusion and inter-trade across Africa.

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