Is there a Case for Third Deputy Governor for Technology and Innovation at the Bank of Ghana ? and No i am not pitching myself for the job!

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Title: The Case for Third Deputy Governor for Technology and Innovation at the Bank of Ghana: Amending the Bank of Ghana Act

Alternate Title: If We Are Serious About Building Ghana’s Economy, Then It Makes Sense to Have a 3rd Deputy Governor for Technology and Innovation

Executive Summary

In an era marked by rapid technological evolution, the financial sector stands at the forefront of digital transformation. The Bank of Ghana, under its current governance structure defined by the 2002 Act (Act 612) and its Amendments, which allows only two deputy governors, faces significant limitations in its capacity to integrate and oversee advancements in fintech and digital banking. This paper advocates for an amendment to include a third deputy governor with a specialized focus on technology, innovation, and fintech. This role is crucial not only for steering Ghana towards a digital economy but also for enhancing financial inclusion, security, and international competitiveness.

Fintech’s Impact on Ghana’s Economy: A Data-Driven Analysis

  1. Enhanced Financial Inclusion

Fintech, particularly through mobile money services, has significantly expanded financial access in Ghana. According to the GSMA, Ghana is one of the fastest-growing mobile money markets in Africa, with the volume of mobile money transactions increasing from 982 million in 2017 to over 2 billion transactions in 2020. This surge has dramatically enhanced financial inclusion, bringing financial services to an estimated 58% of Ghana’s adult population as reported by the World Bank in 2021, up from 41% in 2015.

  1. Boost to Economic Growth

The integration of fintech has made financial transactions faster, cheaper, and more accessible, which has stimulated economic activity. A study from the Brookings Institution highlighted that mobile money services in Ghana could reduce transaction costs by up to 75%

Furthermore, the Bank of Ghana reported that mobile money transactions contributed significantly to the GDP, with an estimated value of transactions reaching GH₵ 569 billion (approximately USD 98 billion) in 2020, showcasing the economic scale and impact of fintech innovations.

  1. Creation of New Jobs and Industries

The fintech sector has become a major employment generator in Ghana. According to the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, the mobile money sector alone directly employs over 200,000 agents across the country. Additionally, the rise of fintech startups, supported by investments exceeding $100 million in 2019, according to the Disrupt Africa Funding Report, has further expanded job opportunities in tech-focused roles and ancillary services.

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  1. Promotion of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Fintech has catalyzed a broader wave of technological entrepreneurship in Ghana. Innovation hubs and incubators such as MEST Ghana and Impact Hub Accra have flourished, supported by both local and international investments. These hubs foster innovation not just in fintech but across multiple sectors, helping to cultivate a new generation of entrepreneurs. The burgeoning startup ecosystem is evidenced by the success of local startups like Zeepay, a fintech company that recently raised $3 Million in funding to expand its operations across Africa.

  1. Government Revenue and Tax Collection

Digital payment platforms have significantly improved the efficiency of tax and revenue collection systems in Ghana. The introduction of digital solutions has facilitated easier and faster payments of taxes and utility bills, leading to higher compliance rates. According to the Ghana Revenue Authority, the integration of mobile money solutions into taxation processes has contributed to an increase in domestic tax revenue, which grew by 16.3% to reach GH₵ 53 billion (about USD 9 billion) in the fiscal year 2020.


The Limitations of the Current Bank of Ghana Structure

The current position of Director for Innovation at the Bank of Ghana is a significant step towards embracing technology within financial systems. However, this role does not have a position on the Bank of Ghana Board. A deputy governor, in contrast, would have the executive authority to influence broader monetary policies and integrate advanced technological strategies directly into the core functions of the bank on Board strategic level and on an operational level. This difference in scope and influence is critical for Strategic Oversight and Policy Development.


The Global Digital Shift: Why Ghana Cannot Afford to Lag

Around the world, central banks are redefining their structures by creating technology positions at the board level or equivalent to better navigate the complexities of a digital economy. For instance:

  • The Bank of England employs a Chief Data Officer at a high executive level to integrate technology and data analytics into their financial stability strategies.
  • The Monetary Authority of Singapore’s appointment of a Chief FinTech Officer underscores the importance of positioning such roles within the top executive team to effectively drive national fintech initiatives.
  • Federal Reserve Bank (US) appointment of the Innovation Center Director (FedNow Service) has meant that the Federal Reserve has been actively involved in technology through various initiatives, including the development of FedNow, a service aimed at modernizing the U.S. payment system with real-time payment capabilities scheduled for launch in 2023.



Without a dedicated high level leadership role focusing on these areas, Ghana risks falling behind in both regional and global financial innovation, potentially missing out on economic growth opportunities presented by the digital age.



Strategic Benefits of a Third Deputy Governor

  1. Enhanced Regulatory Oversight: A tech-focused deputy governor can spearhead the development of regulations that not only foster innovation but also ensure stability and security in the digital financial sector. This role could directly address emerging challenges such as cyber threats, which are increasingly significant as financial transactions become digitized.
  2. Leadership in Financial Technology: By leading initiatives around blockchain, mobile money interoperability, and digital currencies, Ghana could set a regional benchmark in fintech
  3. Driving Financial Inclusion: With a strategic focus on leveraging technology to reach underserved populations, a third deputy governor could enhance efforts to integrate larger segments of Ghana’s population into the formal economy. This is particularly pertinent considering that as of 2021, only 58% of Ghanaian adults have a bank account, per World Bank data.

Overcoming Barriers to Innovation

The addition of a specialized deputy governor would align Bank of Ghana’s leadership with the country’s broader goals of becoming a hub for innovation in West Africa. This role would catalyze necessary reforms in the financial sector, reduce bureaucratic inertia, and ensure that initiatives such as the national digital ID system and mobile money tax reforms are implemented effectively and efficiently.

Conclusion and Call to Action

Amending the Bank of Ghana Act to include a third deputy governor focused on technology and innovation is not just an organizational change but a strategic imperative. This amendment would enable Ghana to harness fintech’s full potential for economic development, tackle the emerging risks associated with digital finance, and position Ghana as a leader in the digital economy of the future.