Sibton Switch Systems Limited (SSSL); a wholly owned subsidiary of Sibton Communications Limited has revealed to TheAfricanDream.net that it will soon deploy transactional interoperability in Ghana, having won a contract to do so and the mandate of Ghana’s Central Bank.
Interoperability from a financial perspective involves the ability of a computer system to run application programs from different vendors and to interact with other computers across local or wide-area networks regardless of their physical architecture and operating systems.
SSSL initially intends to provide this service to the mobile money markets by helping to make convenient, secure and swift, the use of a mobile phone in order to transfer funds between banks or accounts, deposit or withdraw funds or pay bills.
According to the SSSL’s Ms. Keiko Watanabe who spoke to TheAfricanDream.net disclosed that her company has been working and readying itself to begin the systems remittance platform interoperability together with partners at Sibton Communications in Ghana and global clients like those in Tanzania where they’ve had successes in initiating and helping to sustain interoperability.
“We are also looking into the broader realm of electronic commerce; thus the use of a mobile device to purchase items, whether physical or electronic, at least locally to begin with in Ghana. But we are always thinking global here, always.” Ms. Watanabe said.
What Sibton Switch Systems intends to do
The Bank of Ghana before giving the company the nod ensured all the necessary financial and banking compliance were adhered to as stipulated by Ghanaian and international laws said an official of SSSL. The source also revealed that the company has gone ahead and begun talks with a few of the top ranked banks in Ghana’s capital city of Accra about the process of partnering with them on interoperability.
SSSL says the system they are introducing into Ghana is a flagship brand and a first of its kind in the Africa region although it is available in places like Asia, the US, the Middle East and the UK. The system will also enable money transfers to over 90 partner banks in 6000 locations worldwide.
TheAfricanDream.net was told by SSSL that since the platform does not use SWIFT protocol through correspondents, it significantly brings down costs which translate into a more affordable solution for the potential customer. The company said its objective is to mainly provide an alternative at a cutting edge to enhance competition and increase customer satisfaction.
What makes SSSL an option for Ghana’s markets
When TheAfricanDream.net asked what makes SSSL different or innovative in the world of interoperability as far as the Ghana mobile money market matters, a company official said notwithstanding the enormous social benefits of financial inclusion from grassroots level and job creation, they are seeking to enhance their services to help improve fraud management. The detection and prevention of fraud in transactions would be best managed centrally and per the laws of Ghana’s financial institutions.
“All transaction conducted by participants within the scheme must go through the switch to ensure security compliance. As regulators, the Bank of Ghana, as part of its functions, would be provided with the ability to monitor all transactions, we have been contracted to fulfill that requirement based on our expertise in the industry” said a company source in a phone interview.
When TheAfricanDream.net asked how different the SSSL interoperability platform was going to be from already existing money transfer systems in Ghana, the insider said the unique appeal of Sibton Switch Systems remittance platform – to a client bank – is in the fact that it allows the bank to launch a retail remittance service without heavy investments in capital infrastructure, software development, people and processes, AML adherence and customer support.
The Sibton Switch Systems remittance platform comes with easy customizability to a bank’s specifications and can seamlessly integrate with various functions within the bank such as Treasury, Operations and Transaction Banking. This gives complete autonomy to a bank to decide the price of the service to its customer. The system is in contrast to the current arrangements some banks have with money transfer operators where the latter decide the price.
The Ghana money market and mobile money
Ms. Watanabe said to TheAfricanDream.net that interoperability is the way right now, which is why she is excited about the opportunity offered her firm to look into helping prepare for it as Ghana embraces this global trend to begin improved access and networks effects, increase market competition and allow the benefits to be seen in service quality. “this is just a beginning, we are looking forward to seeing others like us emerge as well.”
The growth of mobile money markets globally means more work and research is needed for this rapidly growing and ever-changing area of Ghana’s economy. Ms. Watanabe revealed to TheAfricanDream.net that another important role of her company is to ensure that complexities are removed. This will see to it client and customers do not go through the frustration of dealing with inconvenience — she believes all must enjoy the utmost benefit of digital funds in real-time.
Rexford Nkansah (a Senior Web Developer from Ghana) expressed his views on the matter by saying that, “interoperability is essential. By rolling out interoperability, the full potential of mobile money transfer can be reached, ensuring the ordinary Ghanaian isn’t restricted in receiving funds irrespective of the mobile platform on. As long as such transfers remain fast and secured, it is a win-win for all involved.“
As Ghana prepares to dip its feet into the interoperability world, TheAfricanDreamLLC is excitedly looking forward to observe how it affects the markets, especially the mobile money environment. In places like Tanzania in Africa, the industry has already taken off with providers investing in developing a healthy mobile money environment, we believe Ghana can learn from the rather young Tanzanian example.
Research indicates that in 2012, worldwide remittances crossed $530 billion. This figure in 2015 rose to an estimated $680 billion. Banks, telecom service providers, money transfer agencies and private companies like SSSL are all vying for a share of this ever-growing industry. Find out more about Sibton Switch Systems at www.sibtonswitch.com and let us hear from you about this new development.
Source: Oral Ofori / TheAfricanDream.net