(FinTech Egypt – Central Bank of Egypt)
As part of its continuous efforts to support digital transformation, bridge gaps and enhance financial inclusion for all Egyptian citizens, the CBE recently organized a roundtable discussion oriented around FinTech that featured prominent leaders and top-notch advisors from the financial sector in Egypt.
Held at the luxurious Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel on October 9th 2019, the third iteration of the Central Bank of Egypt’s roundtable program "Here2Hear" was titled “FinTegration: Leveraging Collaboration for Egypt’s FinTech Ecosystem” and focused on strengthening the general framework for the digital transition to a less cash-based and more financially inclusive society.
The Sub-Governor of Payment Systems and Information Technology Sector Ayman Hussein described the objective of the event as “discussions aimed at enhancing the language of joint dialogue and at coordinating mechanisms of cooperation between all parties of the financial system”
Attendants included representatives of several regulators, banks and financial institutions including the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA), the Anti-Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing Unit (AML), and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA), as well as about 70 participants representing all parties of the Egyptian FinTech arena. Non-banking and FinTech startups & entrepreneurs, microfinance companies, insurance companies, mobile network operators, accelerators and venture capitals were also present at the passionate roundtable discussions.
The roundtable kicked off with an introductory statement by Eng. Ayman Hussein:
“We have always adopted a policy aimed at enhancing the dialogue between all parties involved in the financial technology industry in Egypt, as one of the most important tools for achieving financial inclusion. This series of talks comes to put this policy within the framework of practical on-ground implementation, where these discussions reflect the pulse of the Egyptian market, monitor all obstacles and challenges on the ground and develop practical solutions to them, with a focus on exploiting the available and yet-untapped opportunities. This is in coordination with the regulatory authorities in light of activating the mutual agreement to organize cooperation in the field of FinTech, which was signed at the Seamless North Africa 2019 conference last June between the Central Bank of Egypt, the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Unit and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.”
The Sub-Governor of Payment Systems and Information Technology went on to present valuable insights to excited attendants about the digital landscape in Egypt, such as emphasizing that the youth make up 41.3% of Egypt’s 49 million Internet users, thus justifying that they are at the forefront of the FinTech solutions being offered. Following that was an opening statement by Assistant Sub-Governor of FinTech and Innovation; Dr. Rasha Negm, where she put the day into perspective by stating that this event was the first of its kind to gather all FinTech stakeholders in one place, making it a perfect setting to come up with “Egypt’s National FinTech Problem Statements” that address challenges and create solutions for the unbanked and underserved Egyptian citizens.
As the day unfolded, an exercise was conducted with all attendants which revolved around identifying specific problem statements and scenarios that pertain to different clusters of the society and their obstacles, in order to discuss and come up with viable FinTech solutions to real-life issues. This was done to get a collaborative sense of the market pulse and shed light on gaps that FinTech initiatives could fill in the near future.
The session dealt with several main touchpoints, the most important of which was the presentation of the FinTech strategy of the Central Bank of Egypt, as well as the requirements of the Egyptian market related to financial services, and the extent of the ability of FinTech applications to meet those requirements. Participants also discussed the mechanisms of spreading financial literacy and customer engagements, as well as the expected role of the RegTech control applications and boosting financial inclusion through banking and non-banking services across consumer and MSMEs segments. In an excellent display of collaborative efforts, the esteemed attendants took part in micro-discussions to brainstorm these problem statements and everyone was participating and engaging together to present what they came up with, with collaboration being the key focus and the ultimate theme. All parties involved thoroughly debated and discussed these problem statements and the yield was phenomenal, as key areas in need of FinTech applications were identified and deemed critical for further financial inclusion.
The third round of the Central Bank of Egypt’s roundtable discussion certainly saw many crucial financial scenarios being tackled and many innovative technological applications & solutions being suggested to address these scenarios. The fruitful discussion saw many satisfied representatives of different financial entities and the future seemed brighter at the end of the day, paving the way towards a more sustainable future for the financial technology industry in Egypt.
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