The Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr. Ernest Addison has firmly asserted the Bank’s conviction that payment systems will be key to the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Speaking on the final day of the prestigious Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) 2022 Public Forum, the Governor delivered a masterclass on the role of payment systems in the success of AfCFTA.

In the Governors view, 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. 

Promoting Intra-African Trade requires efficient, resilient payment and settlement systems infrastructure - BoG Governor

A strong and well-regulated African financial infrastructure could deepen the benefits of intra-regional trade, eliminate the use of third currency for settlement, improve liquidity management of firms, and reduce transaction costs.

The forum, an annual event by the GAAS, is part of efforts to bridge the gap between Academia, Practice and the General Public. This year’s sessions, scheduled from the 6th of June to the 8th of June is sponsored by UMB, a leading indigenous Ghanaian bank, as part of its 50th-anniversary celebrations.

Speakers through-out the Forum including leading lights and experts on AfCFTA included Prof. Ernest Kofi Abotsi, Prof. Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua, Mr. David Ofosu-Dorte and Ms. Beatrice Chaytor, Head, Trade in Services Division, AfCFTA, Mr. John Apea, CEO of Etranzact Nana Benneh was speaking on the final day, on a panel with The Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison.

Promoting Intra-African Trade requires efficient, resilient payment and settlement systems infrastructure - BoG Governor

The Forum was well patronised by leading luminaries including Prof. Peter Quartey, Prof Fiadzoe, Nana Dr. SKB Asante and  Prof. Akilagpa Sawyerr – both former President of GAAS and Mr. Herbert Krampah, Deputy Minister of Trade, and other senior executives from the Bank of Ghana

The Governor’s presentation was preceded by a lecture by Professor Ebo Turkson of the Department of Economics at the University of Ghana. The thrust of Prof. Turkson’s report focused on the need for heavy investments in hard and soft infrastructure to cut down the cost of Intra-African Trade. With the aid of tables and graphs, Prof. Turkson illustrated how it was cheaper for a Ghanaian business to trade with Europe. In summary, he argued that without infrastructure African Trade would not work.

Promoting Intra-African Trade requires efficient, resilient payment and settlement systems infrastructure - BoG Governor

In response to a question posed to a panel of the speakers during the event, the Chief Executive of UMB, Nana Dwemoh Beneh 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 further stated that Ghana had an advantage, as structures like the Development Bank and the EXIM Bank allowed the banking sector provided the needed muscle for such syndications.

Speaking to this reporter, Prof. Opoku- Nti; Vice President of the Academy expressed GAAS profound appreciation to UMB for sponsoring the forum.

He indicated that this was the kind of collaboration that was critical for innovation in Ghana.

The proceeding of the forum can be accessed online on the website of the Academy.