NAMFISA sets digital transformation in motion

Tujoromajo Kasuto

The Namibian Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority has opened doors for innovators particularly the youth to participate in the Authority’s FINTECH SQUARE programme which is a key catalyst for digital transformation in the Non-Banking Financial Institutions (NBFI) Sector.

The platform launched today will serve as an avenue to learn about technological advancements within the industry and how best the regulator can meet these innovators.

The FINTECH SQUARE is Titled: Where the Regulator Meets the Innovators.

According to NAMFISA Deputy CEO: Prudential Supervision, Erna Motinga for those with solutions within the capital market space and Namibia Stock Exchange (NSX) space, this is their opportunity to come forward as the authority has a team on the ground assessing the ideas and innovations brought forward.

Throughout the course of today NAMFISA was going to have discussions around what is currently in the market and how they can meet some of the aspirations of the aspiring innovators.

‘’This is an opportunity for all innovators that believe they have solutions to something that will assist the market and deepen it in terms of the capital market. Taking account of today’s engagement, we intend to incorporate some of the concerns raised in finalising our proposed

Regulatory Sandbox. This is an “incubatory” platform where financial innovators would “test” their innovations in a controlled regulatory environment,’’ she said.

She further said that, ‘’this might mean the relaxation of legislative requirements or even exemptions. NAMFISA would have access to the same platform to understand underlying implications of the innovation on the financial services sector in general and consumer protection.’’

The FinTech Square is expected to become an innovation hub where many initiatives will be housed and developed for years to come.

Despite the limited time, Motinga said they have received 29 applications from innovators from across the country spanning from banking, non-banking and other sectors of the economy.

‘’So, far we are impressed by the applications brought forward, and intend to share with the media in the coming days summarised versions of what we have learned as a regulator. In this regard, after this briefing, a few selected entrants of this first ever FinTech Square will have open-ended engagements with the NAMFISA FinTech Square team, to set the stage for the Fintech Square initiative and later the Regulatory Sandbox,’’ she said.

NAMFISA’s General Manager for Research Policy and Statistics, Floris Fleermys said they have observed great interest in the first ever FINTECH SQUARE by the number of applications.

‘’As the Authority we are grateful to the innovators for the interest they have shown so far. NAMFISA believes that this initiative will gain momentum and we can provide a platform where our innovators and in particular the youth can participate in driving innovation. This will ultimately lead to improved access to financial services to the majority of our population, as we strive for a more inclusive world for all,’’ he said. He said FINTECH is seen as a catalyst in periods of crisis, and is often linked with the financial crash of 2008, where FINTECH companies and innovators respond to the needs of small businesses and individuals.

‘’It is obvious that as a Regulator we would want to help mitigate emerging risks from FINTECH, however, the Authority saw an opportunity to also help promote innovations within the sector.’’
The FINTECH SQUARE will be celebrated annually as part of the NAMFISA calendar and will take different forms and this year is aimed at gauging the innovations within the market as the authority is moving towards the envisaged NAMFISA regulatory sandbox.

By Observer