The Sunday Mail
Zimbabwe will soon have a National Financial Technology Strategy that will guide the financial sector as the country looks at leveraging on technology to boost service provision and inclusion, a senior official has said.
The strategy should be ready next year.
Financial technology, often shortened to Fintech, is the technology and innovation that aims to compete with traditional financial methods in the delivery of services.
Zimbabwe is joining the rest of the world in enhancing financial services as financial service providers are going digital in line with global trends, while mobile money service has also maintained a growth trajectory.
Speaking on behalf of RBZ Deputy Governor Dr Kupukile Mlambo at a Global Renaissance Investments (GRI) Smart Tech symposium in Harare last week, Mr Philip Madamombe indicated it was essential for the country to look at the entire ecosystem for Fintech, its risks and opportunities for growing the financial services in Zimbabwe.
He acknowledged the role Fintech is playing in enhancing financial inclusion, especially now when banking institutions and insurance groups are using electronic and mobile applications for services, resultantly reaching out to the formerly excluded groups.
“We have constituted interdepartmental Fintech working groups within the Central Bank. The idea is to research on emerging technologies, assess the current regulations and their capability as well as profiling recommendations.
“We have also noted that Fintech is multidimensional and because of that there is collaboration that is critical. And to achieve that we have recommended a national institutional approach where we will have the national Fintech steering committee, we will also have the inter agency working group.
“The idea basically is that at the end of the day we come up with the National Fintech Strategy that will then shape the way we look at issues of Fintech,” he said.
According to Investopedia, Fintech seeks to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services and at its core, utilised to help companies, business owners and consumers better manage their financial operations, processes and lives by utilising specialised software that are used on computers and, increasingly, smartphones.
He added Government, through the central bank was monitoring developments in Fintech, which was consistent with what other regulators have been doing across the globe.
Focus areas in Fintech include interoperability, infrastructure support, policy support to enable a safe and enabling environment for the integrity of the country’s financial markets. In Zimbabwe, Ecocash, Zimswitch, GetBucks, Escrow and Paynow are some of the companies that have revolutionalised Fintech. GRI chief executive officer Ngoni Dzirutwe, said Fintech was the way for Zimbabwe if the country was to catch up with global trends and achieve financial inclusion.
He said Zimbabwe had great opportunities to use Fintech in enhancing financial service delivery, improving efficiency and security of transactions.
“We want to see ICT led economic growth. There is no reason why Zimbabwe cannot have products and services that compete on the global market and be as popular as Alibaba or Google. It is possible with support towards ICT innovations,” he said, adding there were opportunities for ICT products and services crucial for solving everyday challenges.