The quarterly Graphic Business- Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting will be held in Accra on Tuesday, March 22 at the Labadi Beach Hotel.
The maiden edition for the year will be held on the theme: Integration of E-service into our economy - Implications for economic growth and quality of life.
Among other things, the event is expected to bring together players in the industry, regulators and policy makers to deliberate on how to position the E-services sector as a catalyst for economic growth and development.
The breakfast meeting is also expected to spark a major national conversation around the value of E-service to the growth of the country.
Already championed by the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, through efforts to digitalise every service offered by the government, it is also to help ease the turnaround time in doing business in the country.
This edition will be chaired by the Country Manager, VISA Ghana, Adoma Owusu, who will be supported by three industry experts.
The industry experts include; Technology Planner in the Digital Financial Services industry, Fred Frimpong; Financial Services and Technology Professional, Francis Appiah; and Lecturer at the School of Law, University of Ghana, William Kofi Owusu Demitia.
Profile of panellists
Fred Frimpong is a high-impact leader, technology planner and executor of transformational projects for the Digital Financial Services (DFS) industry.
He is entrepreneurial in nature with a unique ability to apply more than 17 years of experience in telecommunications, mobile money, micro lending and e-commerce to solve practically any problem life throws at him.
He is passionate about promoting financial inclusion using technology.
William Kofi Owusu Demitia is a lecturer at the University of Ghana School of Law and prior to joining the School of Law, he lectured at a number of reputable Ghanaian universities including Central University, Pentecost University, Lancaster University Ghana and the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
He is also the facilitator for the Strategic Tax Planning course of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Ghana (CITG).
Mr Demitia holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B), a Master of Laws (LL.M) in International Taxation and a Master of Business Administration in Finance.
He is a member of the Ghana Bar Association, the International Fiscal Association, the International Bar Association, an associate member of the American Bar Association, a Tax Practitioner of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Ghana and a Master Tax Professional (SA) – South African Institutes of Tax Professionals.
Francis Appiah is a financial services and technology professional. He has worked in diverse roles both in Ghana and the United States. He was a Structured Credit Analyst doing performance analysis on collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) at Fitch Ratings Inc “Fitch”, an international bond rating agency in New York City.
In Ghana he has held a diverse range of roles including research analysis, investment management, compliance, corporate finance and most recently operations management for a payments focused fintech. Beyond finance and investments his professional interests also include infrastructure development, economic development, strategy and business development.
Impact of mobile money
The Head, Transactional Products & Services, Stanbic Bank Ghana, Musah Abdallah, in an article ahead of the event pointed out that Ghana had been recognised by the World Bank as the fastest-growing mobile money market in Africa over the last five years.
He said the growing trend of mobile money penetration had been a catalyst for a booming e-commerce industry in the country.
He noted that the industry had been growing steadily over the past decade and had evolved over time to become the main stay for many small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
Besides mobile money, he said there were several other factors that had contributed to the emergence of e-commerce in the country, chief among it being internet penetration.
Benefits of e-commerce
Mr Abdallah pointed out that the benefits of this new trend of doing business were enormous.
“Digitisation and e-commerce have unlocked the entrepreneurial spirits of many Ghanaians, making it a major source of employment and revenue generation avenue for them.
“Many of Ghana’s young population have found stable employment leveraging the benefits of the Internet, mobile money and apps to unlock new opportunities to connect the demand and supply sides of the economy through e-commerce,” he stated.
He said e-commerce had also allowed businesses to diversify their offerings and expand their business operations from hitherto fixed operating times to 24/7 operations with increasing productivity and value extraction.
“Traditional businesses that hitherto used to conduct business physically have expanded their portfolios of services and products in response to evolving consumer demands through e-commerce.
“Today, banks, insurance companies, restaurants and grocery shops have online options that deliver the same, if not better, services to customers and clients with less stress,” he stated.
In terms of public revenue generation, he noted that government had become a beneficiary through the widening of the tax net to capture businesses operating within this segment.
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) recently announced that it would introduce an e-commerce tax in April this year to rake in some GHȼ2.4 billion.
Mr Abdallah said when done effectively, that could possibly have a huge positive impact on domestic tax mobilisation by government to bring the country closer to the desired tax to GDP ratio of its peers.
Dialogue with stakeholders
To fully realise the benefits of e-commerce in Ghana, Mr Abdallah urged the government to dialogue with other stakeholders to shape e-commerce and the digital economy by defining the rules that shaped and governed the sector.
He said it was a huge challenge that would involve adapting existing policies, laws and regulations to cater for this emerging and growing trend of e-commerce in Ghana.