In Summary
  • Digital money presents us with immense opportunities on how to totally transform the financial markets landscape.
  • Mobile banking, mobile money transfer, e-transactions and other financial innovations that analyse business inputs, payments and stocks are boosting financial inclusion in the region.

Regional private sector wants member countries to fasten the legal and regulatory frameworks on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) harmonised to ease business.
Tourism, education and agriculture services have contributed to the economic development of the people of EAC.

However, the member countries are working in silos yet if they harmonise as per the requirement of the regional protocol-this would ease doing business.
One of the reasons why member countries are working independelty is because there is no legal framework to support harmonisation.
In trying to address this, the regional private sector is set to dissect the challenges preventing the harmonisation of ICT regulatory framework in the respective members at the forth-coming EA business and entrepreneurship conference and exhibition scheduled from November 14 to 16 in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

ICT infrastructure
In an interview with Prosper Magazine ahead of next week’s meeting, Ms Lillian Awinja, the chief executive officer of EABC, said: “The EAC region needs improved ICT cross-border infrastructure development, interoperability of infrastructure, cross-border connectivity, increased digitisation of government processes to reduce transaction costs and ensure efficient and quality public services delivery.”
Ms Awinja added that harmonised legal and regulatory framework is best fit to fast track the region’s social and economic development.

Achievements
Despite the member countries operating independently, there have been some achievements in ICT development.
One of the latest, being the world’s first national drone delivery system, which will be used to deliver blood to patients in remote areas of Rwanda, while Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan joined One Network Area to reduce telecommunication costs within and across the borders.
Technological innovations related to custom operations such as electronic passports, tax collection, bonds, forms, cargo tracking systems, security checks can support the region’s economic growth through enhancing the ease of doing business in the region by reducing costs, time, bureaucracy and increase security.

Mobile banking, mobile money transfer, e-transactions and other financial innovations that analyse business inputs, payments and stocks are boosting financial inclusion in the region.
Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSDU)’s executive director Jacqueline Musiitwa says in Africa and in Uganda in particular, Financial Technologies (FinTech) as a component if ICT has been synonymous with mobile money aggregators.

However, Fintech activities go beyond mobile money aggregation services to include broader technology solutions that can deliver affordable and high quality financial products and services.
“This is not to downplay the role, which mobile money has played in promoting financial inclusion. Indeed mobile money still has a dominant role to play in the FinTech ecosystem. But we need to look beyond mobile money platform,” She added.

Digital money presents us with immense opportunities on how to totally transform the financial markets landscape.
Fintech aims to broaden the agenda of financial inclusion and empower Ugandans and the region at large to enjoy a wide range of financial services from banking, insurance, and pensions to investments through their mobile handset.