FinTech Egypt Dialogue, the first monthly podcast that focuses on financial technology in Egypt hosted by FinTech Egypt in collaboration with GIZ has recently launched its first episode for all FinTech stakeholders and enthusiasts to enjoy in the comfort of their home.
The webinar kicked things off in excitement as moderator Hossam Mahmoud, advisor at GIZ Egypt, was joined by guests Mr. Ahmed Monir, Head of Regulatory Sandbox at Central Bank of Egypt, as well as Mr. Omar Abdel Wahed, Co-Founder and CEO of Valify Solutions.
The session started off with a question to Ahmed Monir about what happened in the FinTech arena in 2020 in terms of regulations and more, and what his expectations are for 2021 in that respect.
He stated that the issuance of a new banking law (Law 194) in 2020 was an important milestone that reflects the interest of the CBE in terms of new FinTech trends happening today.
“This law laid out the legislative basis for digital transformation in the financial and banking sector through devoting an entire chapter for governing financial technologies”
He also mentioned that this was the one of the most important initiatives that tackled regulatory issues during 2020. For 2021, he said they need to focus more on emerging FinTech trends according to the needs of the Egyptian market. These needs are being determined as they go along, but many of them have been properly defined to meet the demands of the market because the Central Bank of Egypt has already opened channels with different players of the FinTech ecosystem to pinpoint what exactly needs to be addressed in the current year.
The host proceeded to ask Mr. Monir about RegTech (regulatory technology) as one of the most promising technologies to date in FinTech.
“RegTech is employing technologies to meet regulatory requirements and reduce compliance costs, and it promises to enrich the regulatory landscape by providing technologically advanced solutions to the ever-increasing demand for compliance within the finance industry”
He went on to mention that there are many examples of RegTech activities like e-KYC, shared databases, streamlined AML process, biometric applications, and reporting mechanisms, and currently, Valify in cooperation with ABK - Egypt Bank are testing their e-KYC solution inside the Regulatory Sandbox.
The conversation moved on to Mr. Abdel Wahed, where the host asked him about eKYC and why he has launched Valify in Egypt. Mr. Abdel Wahed stated that Valify is indeed categorized under RegTech, and the company currently provides a digital identity infrastructure technology to facilitate the process of onboarding and verifying customers remotely, represented by the digitization of KYC (Know Your Customer) into e-KYC.
“What we’re trying to do is make the client’s experience much simpler and more seamless without having to be physically present within a branch in order to get access to a digital service, or even digitize their experience within a branch”
Mr. Abdel Wahed stated that they (Valify) want to optimize the internal processes of financial institutions while making it more efficient and cost-effective. He talked about how the obvious movement towards financial inclusion and digitization by the CBE, such as the regulatory sandbox, is significantly enabling the transition into a digitized economy where Valify can contribute to its success.
“Valify’s main aim is to be that digital identity gateway that bridges the gap between different stakeholders, whether it’s the regulators such as the CBE or their clients”
Mr. Monir mentioned that the Regulatory Sandbox is a virtual environment made to enable FinTech applicants to try out their innovative solutions in a live environment during a limited period of time and with well-defined parameters where all challenges and risks are strictly contained.
Startups can apply to the cohort-based regulatory sandbox once the CBE announces that they are open for applications during a specified period of time by filling the online application form on the CBE’s official website.
He recommends to startups that are interested in applying to go through the regulatory sandbox framework that is published on the CBE’s website to ensure that they are fulfilling all eligibility criteria and requirements so that they know exactly what to provide and expect from it.
Mr. Abdel Wahed went on to say that their journey was filled with obstacles due to the main issue that their service didn’t have a framework to operate in, and this is where the regulatory sandbox empowered them to realize Valify’s full potential. They have been working with the CBE for quite a long time now, allowing them to successfully deploy their solution and make it see the light of day in the Egyptian market through enabling Valify to test, iterate and optimize their software through the safe virtual environment provided by the regulatory sandbox initiative.
He also mentioned that the market is witnessing a shift in regulation policies and becoming more flexible and accepting change, which also pertains to industries outside of finance, due to the changing landscape after COVID-19, in addition to the ongoing digital transformation efforts in Egypt today. This resulted in giving Valify the boost it needed to thrive, and the final obstacle was eliminated by joining the regulatory sandbox.
Listen to full episode of FinTech Egypt Dialogue’s first-ever FinTech-centric podcast from here:
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