Seychelles expects to have a national strategy that will guide the implementation of financial technology by the end of the year, said a top official of the Central Bank.
To pave the way for the formulation of the strategy, a three-day working session was organised this week under the theme ‘Building a Fintech Platform for Seychelles – Opportunities and Challenges.’
The aim of the session was to explore the potential of Financial Technology as well as the implications that such innovations can have on the local financial sector.
FinTech is used to describe new technology that seeks to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services. It is used to help companies, business owners and consumers better manage their financial operations, processes and lives by utilising specialised software and algorithms.
In Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, such services include debit cards, internet banking, mobile money and investment in bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies, which are relatively new.
|Airtel money allows people to store any money they have on their mobile phones to pay for goods and services. (Airtel/Facebook) Photo License: CC-BY|
FinTech is rapidly changing the global economic and financial landscape and has the potential to be the driving force of several initiatives outlined in the Seychelles’ financial sector development, Vice President Vincent Meriton said in his address.
These included “the development of the national payment system and other financial infrastructures, improving access to credit for small and medium enterprises, fostering capital market developments, the enhancement of competition and innovation, and the promotion of greater financial stability,” said Meriton.
This was echoed by the governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS), Caroline Abel, who said that Seychelles recognises the importance of FinTech which is transforming the financial industry into a dynamic and vibrant network.
Abel told SNA that it was for this reason that three years ago, CBS started to look at FinTech closely and attended various international fora to look at how Seychelles could make use of the new technologies.
A CBS delegation was in Hong Kong last year to look at the innovative technologies used in the financial sector and how these could be used locally to improve access and facilitate the broader digital transformation of the Seychelles economy.
Abel said it was important to have dialogues among the implementers of FinTech Solutions, policymakers and the regulators so that there is a comprehensive understanding of the opportunities and challenges of such developments.
“As a regulator, we are aware of the risks which exist in regards to financial consumer protection, data protection, cybersecurity, Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism,” she said.
“Our mandate is to ensure that payments done in our jurisdiction are effected in a safe, sound, efficient and reliable manner, regardless of the changes in the payments landscape. It is for these very reasons that the embracing of the new opportunities needs to be accompanied by sound policies and guidelines,” Abel added.
Abel said the outcomes of the workshop will pave the way for the formulation of a national strategy “that will guide the implementation of the Financial Technology sector and outline the roles and responsibilities of every stakeholder, guide the overall coordination of efforts in the building and implementation of Fintech and build awareness and education of Fintech in the financial sector and the country as a whole.”
Some 150 participants representing policymakers, regulators, industry stakeholders, private sector representatives, and the media, among others took part in the workshop.