Press spotlights promotion of integrated continental payment system by central banks in Africa, others

APA– Accra The report that the Bank of Ghana has teamed up with all the central banks in Africa to deliver an integrated continental payment system to support trading within Africa is one of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Friday. The Graphic reports that the Bank of Ghana has teamed up with all the central banks in Africa to deliver an integrated…

APA – Accra (Ghana) The report that the Bank of Ghana has teamed up with all the central banks in Africa to deliver an integrated continental payment system to support trading within Africa is one of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Friday.

The Graphic reports that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has teamed up with all the central banks in Africa to deliver an integrated continental payment system to support trading within Africa.

The move is within the context of the larger African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) objective of promoting intra-African trade.

The platform, which is currently being developed, involves the linking of all the regional payment systems such as Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) and SADC-RTGS, a payment system for countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and that of ECOWAS.

When completed, the new payment system will promote efficiency in regional trade by facilitating the smooth flow of payments underpinning economic activities and fostering transparency and effectiveness in intra-African trade.

The Governor of the BoG, Dr Ernest Addison, who reiterated this at the closing of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) Forum 2022 in Accra last Wednesday evening, stated that given the right policies, Africa’s collective efforts at integrating existing national payment systems could enable firms on the continent to innovate, investing to and create job opportunities.

“Together with digitalisation, an integrated payment system will help Africa foster convergence of institutional framework and create a more regional financing ecosystem.

“Collectively, we are working to deliver an integrated and interoperable continental payment system by linking all the regional payments leveraging the PAPSS connectivity to enhance the power of digital payment for value creation,” he said.

The newspaper says that the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) will continue to support the country’s industrialisation drive, according to its representative in Ghana and Liberia, Fakhruddin Azizi.

He said the organisation was empowering entrepreneurs and building the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through the development of standards.

It is also procuring equipment to augment the efficiency of testing and measurements in the laboratories of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).

“Supporting SMEs and clusters is a strategic approach to ensure inclusive and sustainable industrial development to ensure that no one is left behind. Women can also fully take advantage of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement,” he added.

Mr Azizi was speaking at the first cluster international conference for SMEs to strengthen inclusiveness for small businesses in Accra last Wednesday.

A cluster exhibition was also held on the sidelines of the conference to give development partners an insight into how the country’s SMEs can improve their products and compliance to international standards to gain market access.

The conference was hosted by the EU-funded West African Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP), which is being implemented by UNIDO and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), in collaboration with the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI).

It was also aimed at promoting the nation’s cluster results and strengthening connections between SMEs as a sustainable way to enhance the country’s competitiveness and integration in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

More than 120 SMEs attended the conference which also showcased products from Ghanaian entrepreneurs benefiting from the WACOMPGhana project.

The Graphic also reports that henceforth, students in tertiary institutions will not need a guarantor to access loans from the Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF).

With this policy, a student only needs an admission letter and the Ghana Card to access the loan.

This followed the launch of the ‘No Guarantor Students Loan Policy’ by the Vice- President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, last Wednesday at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

Present at the ceremony were Vice- Chancellors of public universities, a Deputy Minister of Education, Rev. Ntim Fordjour; the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, and some metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives.

Also present were some tertiary and secondary school students from the region.

At the launch in Kumasi, he said the policy was aimed at making tertiary education accessible to all Ghanaians.

He stated that it was also in fulfilment of a manifesto promise made by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) during the 2020 election to remove barriers to accessing financial support for tertiary education.

Dr Bawumia said the guarantor-free loan application for students was one of the benefits of the digitalisation process being undertaken by the government build the economy.

“This is one of the benefi ts we derive as a country by prioritizing digitalisation. When we said that we were entering the fourth industrial revolution and we were going to build a data based economy with digitalisation as anchor, many people didn’t quite understand us,” he said.

According to the Vice President, the current world order required that every economy was digitalised, adding that “If you don’t digitalise, you can forget it.”

The Ghanaian Times says that the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, is rallying all and sundry to join the second edition of the ‘Green Ghana Day’ which takes off tomorrow across the country to plant two million trees.

Mr Jinapor, MP, Damango told Parliament in Accra yesterday that with the fast depreciating forest cover of the country and worsening climate changes, it was important all persons joined hands with his outfit to try to recover the lost vegetation.

“Mr Speaker, let me use this opportunity to call on Honourable Members, corporate Ghana, traditional leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, judges, students, religious leaders, traders, civil servants, public servants, members of the diplomatic corps, and indeed, every person living in Ghana, as well as those visiting Ghana on Green Ghana Day, to join hands with us to plant, at least, 20 million trees,” he appealed on the floor of Parliament.

To get everybody involved, he said government had allocated to each of the 16 regions planting targets and seedlings had been made available free of charge at the district offices of the Forestry Commission, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, as well as other public places.

According to Mr Jinapor, based on lessons from the maiden edition, a two-pronged strategy had been adopted to achieve the target as part of measures to reforest the reserves.

The first strategy, he said, was to plant 10 million seedlings in degraded forest reserves in compartments and 10 million seedlings outside forest reserves, around farms, degraded watershed areas, boundaries, office compounds, and sites within communities, including, parks, roadsides, homes, churches, mosques and schools.

“We encourage corporate Ghana and other organisations to adopt forest compartments for planting, and we will brand these compartments in the names of these organisations, and same can be reported, either as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility or as offset for their carbon footprints,” he said.

The current generation, the minister said had a collective responsibility, as a people, to leave future generations and their communities with richer, better and more valuable forests and wildlife endowment than it inherited.

GIK/APA

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