Research from US-based Bloomberg international news agency shows that over the last decade, Africa has had the fastest-growing Economies with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rates averaging at about 5 per cent.
A recent report from the same agency shows that seven out of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa, that is Uganda, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Rwanda, Ghana and Kenya.
However, according to Damali Ssali, a Chartered Accountant , economic growth can only be socially sustainable if it’s inclusive and one of the main components of sustainable economic growth is financial inclusion.
Unfortunately, financial inclusion is one of the areas in Uganda that are lagging behind. Although micro-small and Medium Enterprises are the majority providers of jobs in Uganda, only a few of SME’s have access to loans.This means that the importance of financial inclusion cannot be easily realized.
Ms Ssali explains that if Uganda and Africa at large desire to see full financial inclusion, there is a need to revisit regulatory frameworks.
“Several countries are still missing regulatory frameworks to guide financial and digital inclusion and those that have, their regulations are so stringent around the royal customer requirement that govern digital financial services. Therefore there is a need to review these frameworks so that they enhance and affirm financial inclusion,” Ms Ssali said during the Digital and Financial inclusion summit at Mestil Hotel on Friday.
She also argued providers of digital solutions to develop solutions that are based on level one principals one of which is Interoperability.
“Interoperability bridges the gaps between one platform and another. We need interoperability when dealing with the ‘Africa Free trade Area’ so that we can transact with customers in all markets in Africa,” adding that the government should also digitize its services.
“In any country, the government is the largest provider of goods and services and therefore the largest provider of goods and services. The government must also start to embrace digital technology in the provision of services to all people but especially to poor people, vulnerable people,” Ms Ssali noted.
Chris Lukolyo, the Digital Country Lead at United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) also said that to promote both digital and financial inclusion in Uganda, political will must be doubled.
“Several countries have tried digital and financial inclusion but I must say the key pillar for a digital identity in a country to succeed political will must be there at all levels. In Uganda that will is there since currently, we see the government is encouraging people to have their National Identity cards since now an ID is a key to access many services such as sim card, banks services passport. Also, give the fact that there a push to have regulatory and policy environment shows a political will,” he said.
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