Financial innovations, digital technologies important for climate change combat – Finance Minister

The Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has stated that financial innovation and digital technologies have become important tools to tackle climate change and address its impacts on society and calls for investment in them.

According to him, the two tools had “an outsize role in building climate preparedness and emergen­cy response”.

Mr Ofori-Atta stated this an article published in thearticlereport on the role of digital payment in climate change adaptation and mitigation said called on the V20 countries to work together to deploy digital technologies and solutions to tackle the climate menace.

Mr Ofori-Atta said responsible digital payments had emerged as critical enablers to addressing climate change in Africa as high­lighted by the World Bank Group in 2020.

“We cannot triumph from this adversity in a vacuum. We must, together, confront this challenge using all available and imaginable tools. So, financial innovation and technologies become paramount. They have an outsize role in building climate preparedness and emergency response,” he stated.

He said the success of digital payments during the Covid-19 pandemic offered a valued blue­print for building climate resilience, particularly in vulnerable commu­nities, adding that the indispens­ability of a robust digital payment ecosystem during emergencies was underscored.

Mr Ofori-Atta said investing in digital payment infrastructure and extending essential digital services to regions most affected by climate change held a better and bolder promise for responding to extreme weather conditions.

The Minister, for instance, said the government of Ghana’s digital initiatives had ensured that finan­cial aid reached those most in need and in time.

“Leveraging existing digital pay­ment infrastructure and collaborat­ing with financial institutions, the government reduced inefficiencies, minimised physical contact, and played a vital role in the broader containment effort,” Mr Ofori-At­ta stated.

He said government’s dedication to advancing a digital economy had been matched by significant invest­ment in digital infrastructure.

With Ghana pioneering an inte­grated interoperability system, the Minister said through the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), interoperable mobile money transactions surged to $138 million, totalling over $2 billion in 2022.

Mr Ofori-Atta called for urgent financial and technical support help for the V20 countries to adapt to climate change while advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“The appeal comes in light of staggering figures. Since 2000, V20 countries have incurred $525 billion in costs due to multiple impacts of climate change. It is even more distressing that about 98 per cent of the nearly 1.5 billion people residing in these countries are bereft of financial protections,” he stated.

He said Africa was warming faster than the rest of the world and left unabated, climate change would continue to have adverse impacts on African economies and societies, and hamper growth prospects and wellbeing.

In rural Africa, climate hazards pose heightened risks to low-in­come and female-headed house­holds with UNWomen projecting a worst-case scenario of 158 million more women and girls pushed into poverty by mid-century in low-in­come countries.

“These statistics are grim. Pro­tecting these people and promoting their prosperity would require a stronger voice and stronger part­nerships,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.


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