Over the years, Global Voice Group (GVG) has been working with African governments and regulators in supporting the implementation of different data solutions.
GVG’s solutions span telecommunications, digital payments and digital identity among others. In 2011, GVG implemented the International Gateway Traffic Verification System (IGTVS) to measure traffic, provide accurate billing, a better quality of service assessment, market surveillance, interconnection, dispute resolution, and fraud management.
In terms of digital payment, GVG deployed the TransFin solution, which enables payments systems to save time and money with respect to input, authentication and authorization processes, while enabling integration with multiple other systems.
This work with governments and regulators across the continent gives them great insight into the potential Africa has if technological solutions are successfully implemented, and this recently got GVG to win the Data Management Partner for Regulatory Compliance Category at the Central Banking’s FinTech & RegTech Global Awards.
We had a chat with James Claude, CEO at GVG touching on the work GVG is doing with regulators on the continent and some of their successes in the recent past.
How can data solutions impact the African economy?
Data is becoming an important asset for companies, for countries and even for all the participants, which are the citizens of those countries generating all of these data.
Thus, data can be at the heart of decision-making, today, with the proliferation of technology, data is being constantly collected regularly by service providers.
That’s why it is important for regulatory bodies to have access to those data while protecting user privacy so as to improve decision-making.
Data can also help to promote financial inclusion because you can understand how this whole digital economy is evolving, what is lacking from different segments of the economy.
At GVG, we work very closely with them to provide solutions so they can really oversee their sector. By making use of the data collected, we mine them, so they can then see the impact of their different policies, and have what we call a dynamic role in terms of regulation.
IGTVS has been deployed in some countries, tell us about its success, especially in Rwanda?
IGTVS has been deployed in more than 12 countries in Africa. GVG has been working together with the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and in 2011 implemented IGTVS a comprehensive data solution that independently audits and monitors the networks in Rwanda to measure traffic, provide accurate billing, a better quality of service assessment, market surveillance, interconnection, dispute resolution, and fraud management.
Earlier, the IGTVS was mainly focused on monitoring, international voice traffic, over time, we expanded its functionalities to provide visibility on the mobile money ecosystem, which is today available to the Central Bank of funds, so they can almost see what is happening in the mobile money ecosystem.
The whole implementation of IGTVS in Rwanda has been part of the strategy of one digital transformation 2000 When they unveil vision 2020
The vision was geared toward making the country a leader in data transformation, and we are very proud to have been associated with this success, where our solution has been one of the most advanced regulatory in the region by having the right tool to oversee the telecom sector,
The mobile money ecosystem is growing very fast in Rwanda, so just to give you a few numbers, we are helping regulators to fight effectively against fraud. And we have helped them to detect and cut more than 30,000 fraudulent lines in 2019 alone, so it just too and today we have the capability of monitoring billions of transactions on a monthly basis, and that’s to tell you how we contributed to building the capability of RURA while working together as a partner and also by providing training and capability building.
GVG was nominated for the Central Banking’s FinTech & RegTech Global Awards, centered on Mobile Money Monitoring, what is the solution about?
The Mobile Money Monitoring (M3) is an intelligent platform that uses machine learning and predictive analysis to oversee the whole mobile money ecosystem in different countries.
This pattern has been installed in more than five countries, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ghana, are among the countries that are using this platform developed, which seamlessly connects to the networks of the mobile money providers to perform critical action.
And then, based on machine learning and big data analytics, we can potentially collect and identify suspicious transactions related to money laundering or illicit activity.
This tool empowers the authority to oversee such an important aspect of the digital economy because most of the informal economy uses mobile money, and at the same time, brings transparency, because this is a way to secure these important assets, for all the stakeholders.
Has Africa leveraged technology to its maximum to solve the financial inclusion challenge?
There’s still a long road ahead of us, but I believe, we are in the right direction. Data from GSMA indicated that by the end of 2020, 495 million people subscribed to mobile services in Sub-Saharan Africa, which represents 46% of its population.
That was an increase of 20 million from 2019, so we’ve more than 40% of the region’s population under the age of 15, meaning we have young consumers using mobile phones for the first time.
Mobile is spreading all over the continent and solutions, such as mobile money are helping significantly to bridge the gap, and bring more people into the financial ecosystem because, in the past, we used to define financial inclusion as How many people have or don’t have bank accounts.
But I think this definition is completely outdated today because if you look at many countries, where people are using mobile money, there are so many services now that are being put on top of mobile money, such as savings loans, and so on, without a bank account, but using mobile phones, people are getting access to credit, financial services, which ultimately, is the exact definition of financial inclusion.
I think Africa, besides the progress, I believe there’s still a need to invest more in infrastructure to harmonize regulations between countries to foster the development of this mobile penetration, and where the mobile providers can see an interesting ecosystem to continue investing and developing different other services on mobile money that gives access to people.
Thus, definitely, technology has been playing a significant role, and I believe, it will continue to play that role to really bridge the gap of financial inclusion in Africa.
We have solutions that help revenue authorities to have a better understanding of what is happening with Telecom in space.
I think we will continue to work in that sense to identify the issues and things, that regulatory bodies and organizations face.
This way we come up with cutting-edge platforms and technical solutions, that can help them have control.
Tell us about the TransFin solution?
Following the implemented mobile money, we saw an increasing problem in many countries where so many payment systems are operating in silos, and Rwanda just launched interoperability between Airtel money and MTN money, which was not possible before.
TransFin is a solution that we launched in 2021 to help, especially central banks in bringing interoperability within the payments ecosystem, because that also can contribute to Financial Inclusion, because living in a remote village having access to airtel money, and if I cannot transfer to different platforms, so I mean, I’m still isolated.
I will need only to rely on airtel to do all my transactions. So just as an example, TransFin can help, by bringing interoperability, it’s also a full payment system where governments can interact with its citizens in terms of payment, because we have a payroll system for civil servants that can be implemented, it has a module on that platform that can help government’s efficiency in managing their payrolls.
TransFin can also manage the digital identity, which is also another key element of the development of the digital economy.
At GVG, we are committed to helping governments to effectively carry out their mandates of overseeing and regulating the different sectors, we exclusively work with regulatory bodies, because we believe they have an essential role to play in this ecosystem by putting in place the right regulation, the right framework, allowing the development of the whole digital economy that can foster financial inclusion while improving the lives of people in general. We are happy that we are being recognized for our role in this whole ecosystem.
And as I said earlier, our M3 solution has really helped many governments to have control over the mobile money ecosystem, but we also have many other solutions that help telecom regulators.
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