Tech expert advocates single Act on digital innovations: Seeks special focus on start-ups

BY: Emmanuel Bruce
Francis Appiah, Financial Services and Technology Professional, addressing participants in the meeting
Francis Appiah, Financial Services and Technology Professional, addressing participants in the meeting

Financial Services and Technology Professional, Francis Appiah, has called for clear regulations on digital innovations and technology to guide its usage in the country.

He said although some provisions on digital innovation and technology could be found in different regulations, it was necessary to come up with a specific Act that would solely focus on the sector, with particular emphasis on start-ups in the sector.

Mr Appiah was speaking at the Graphic Business/ Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting which was held on the theme: ‘Integration of E-services into our economy; implications for economic growth and quality of life’.

“We should believe in the abilities of the innovators in the country. We need a start-up Act in that sector.

“We have a lot of provisions that have been put into different laws that sought to allude to helping start-ups but we need a cogent, clear policy on digital innovation and technology,” he stated.

He said when properly regulated, digital innovation would improve efficiency, productivity and have a positive impact on growth.

Consumer right protection

From the policy perspective, Mr Appiah said the country needed to do a better job on consumer rights protection.

“Banks and payment services providers take consumer protection seriously because it helps their business in a competitive environment.

“If we are going full scale on this digital economy, then we have no option but to bring all the players, from the private, public and the consumers together to discuss issues such as consumer protection,” he said.

Mr Appiah said technology had democratised innovation to the point where companies needed to start thinking about how to position themselves in a global economy to take advantage of the opportunities.

Phenomenal growth

Also speaking at the meeting, the Country Manager, Visa Ghana, Adoma Owusu, who chaired the event, the first of four quarterly meetings in the year, said there had been a phenomenal growth in e-commerce across the world within the last 10 years, with e-commerce sales expected to rise to $30 trillion across the globe by 2024.

Zooming in on Ghana, she said data available suggested that e-commerce generated $638 million in 2021 and the figure was estimated to reach $1.3 billion by 2025.

This year, she said e-commerce is expected to grow by 19 per cent to $759 million.

Mrs Owusu said the phenomenon provided a huge market opportunity for players in the industry.

She noted that sub-Saharan Africa might be one of the smallest e-commerce regions but had showed a huge growth potential.

The Visa Country Manager said the established foundation, intertwined with the growing e-commerce penetration which offered payment and issuers new opportunities.

Adoption opportunity

Mrs Owusu pointed out that a research conducted by Visa over the last 234 months identified key macro-economic and demographic trends that would re-inforce the growing digital adoption going forward.

“There is also great technological adoption and with the young growing population, it provides the impetus for the rise in opportunities of e-commerce in sub-Saharan Africa,” she stated.

She said the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) which is a mobile industry expert, was also projecting that the number of mobile subscriptions in sub-Saharan Africa would more than double and reach one billion connections by 2024, up from the 447 million in 2019.

That, she said also provided huge opportunities, as customers would seek to have seamless access to make digital payments on mobile devices.

“The digital players must therefore ensure that there is a variety of payment channels available. Customers want options so digital payments must respond with multi-channel options,” she stated.