Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has announced that “thanks to the Bank of Ghana and GhiPPS, Ghana will launch a Universal QR Code payments system next month” which would “make it possible for all retailers to receive payments on their mobile phones without the need for point of sale devices”.
“Soon, we will be buying ‘Kofi brokeman,’ paying for tro-tro services, paying rent and for stuff in the market with our QR Code. Singapore launched a QR Code system in 2018. Ghana will be about the only country in Africa with a QR Code system” Dr Bawumia said when he delivered an address on behalf of President Nana Akufo-Addo at the launch of Absa Bank Ghana, formerly Barclays Bank Ghana, in Accra on Monday, 10 February 2020.
“It is our determination that Ghana will not be left behind in the 4th Industrial Revolution and our human resource development, our financial sector development should focus broadly on building an inclusive system that opens the landscape for innovation and deepening of both the public and private sector environment”, Dr Bawumia said.
The change from Barclays to Absa follows the takeover of Barclay’s Bank by the Absa group in 2018.
Recalling some highlights of Barclays Bank’s 103-year history in Ghana, Dr Bawumia commended the bank for setting a high bar for banking in the country and partnering successive governments to achieve remarkable feats.
“You have made significant contribution to the economic growth and development of Ghana. As a bank, you have played significant roles in our annual cocoa syndication arrangement, the various Eurobonds and many other financing deals to generate funds for key government projects to serve the people of our beloved country.
“Indeed, you were at the forefront of the 2017 bold historic 2.25 billion dollars bond, which we raised to help support key development projects for Ghanaians. The deal, the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa, was instrumental in Government’s liability management strategy.
“In addition to the above, you are playing an instrumental role in the financing of various important development projects across the country”, Dr Bawumia disclosed.
“These and the many other support give us the confidence that Absa Bank’s commitment to Ghana is unchanging.”
Dr Bawumia called on the banking and financial sector to do more for small and medium enterprises (SME), who play a very key role in the economy.
“One area of great concern for us as government is support to the small and medium-sized enterprises. The contribution of the SME sector to our economy is quite significant. It is for this reason that the government continues to encourage private sector support for this segment.
“The President acknowledges the support the private sector and especially some of the financial institutions are giving to the SME sector, making us, truly, partners in development.”
To take further advantage of the benefits of technology and digitisation Ghana, Dr Bawumia said, is reaching for a major frontier of financial inclusion.
Dr Bawumia commended the board and management of Barclays for the smooth transition to a new brand name, saying: “Ghana together with Absa Bank is making history. This year, 2020, is the dawn of a new decade and a new and refreshed beginning for Absa Bank Ghana Limited and we are proud to be part of this beginning.”
He commended Ghana’s banking sector for the continued support for government initiatives and development programmes over the years.
Dr Bawumia was particularly grateful for the support of Barclays Bank Ghana over the years in achieving the government’s flagship programmes in agriculture, education and technology, and for supporting other programmes such as rural telephony network expansion, the Ghana Road Fund financing, and the Getfund Syndicated facility, all geared toward inclusive development.