Its always interesting to see where the developed world can learn from emerging economies. A lot of the best engineering work comes from having to deal with harsh constraints (opposite of architecture astronomics). I blogged awhile ago about using smart cards for digital cash in Africa
Looks like there is a new system in Ghana as well
E-zwhich smart launched
-ZWICH smartcard, a universal electronic system that facilitates easy access to and transfer of money has now become part of financial transactions in Ghana.
The new system which is also designed to remove the cumbersome and insecure processes of using cash, was launched in Accra yesterday by President J.A. Kufuor, with a call on corporate bodies and government agencies to use it to ensure transparency and integrity on payrolls.
E-zwich is an electronic payment system that allows one to make payments for goods and services or transfer money to others without having to carry physical cash.
Available at all banks countrywide, the system involves the loading of money onto the smart card after registering with any bank without necessarily having an accounts with that bank.
President Kufuor said the introduction of the system has the potential of transforming the payments landscape, the financial services industry and the general conduct of business in the country.
He said accessing the technology was an integral part of government’s overall vision of making Ghana the gateway to the West Africa sub-region and transforming her into a major financial hub.
The President said that globalisation has come with a major challenge of adopting best practices in all spheres of endeavour especially within the macro economy in order to survive in the market.
He said it was against that background that the government has pursued polices to develop and modernise the financial sector to enable it to play a key role in resource mobilisation for increased investment.
With the reforms and the stability of the macro-economy, President Kufuor said the nation was witnessing dramatic growth in the banking sector.
He pointed out, however, that inspite of the impressive growth of financial institutions, an estimated 80 per cent of the eligible population was still "un-banked" or "under-banked" and seemed not to have access to financial services.
Wonder when we will see US, UK, and other first world banks and brokerages catch up to Ghana and South Africa on these technologies? Is it really a good idea in 2008 to have everyone type their username and password into a web browser?