Deputy Governor of the Bank of Namibia Ebson Uanguta said the emergence of new technology
particularly in the space of online banking business modalities, has forced the central bank to adapt to the new technology by aligning its regulatory frameworks to speak to the needs of the new 4IR.
The BoN deputy governor was speaking today at Start-Up Namibia and Fintech innovative hub session in Windhoek.
Uanguta said that the innovative technologies are changing lives, by improving their living standards and alleviating poverty as well as addressing the economical inequalities within the global sphere.
He further stated that the technology has proven to be beneficial even in remote countries like Namibia, its financial inclusion is being advanced, as people who do not have bank accounts are using technological activities in their daily lives. According to the World Bank study of 2015, there is nearly 1.7 billion people around the world without bank accounts. With the largest number said to be in China of about nearly 225 million, while India sits at about 190 million.
People such as street vendors who were traditionally paid via cash payments, have also integrated their business using online payments or E-money.
It is due to these activities that the position of BoN as a mandatory regulator of this nature of businesses is monitoring the domestic land scape activities, to ensure that businesses are protected and the country’s economy is intacked.
BoN has developed innovative frameworks to accommodate Fintech providers through its Fintech framework and thus calling on aspiring entrepreneurs to come with ideas to drive the country’s economy to greater heights while doing it within the ambits of the BoN regulations.
BoN has also developed an innovative hub, which is an internal body, meant to leapfrog the bank into digital transformation. The hub leverages appropriate technologies, modernize financial systems and drives financial inclusion, including economic development in the country.
The hub further promotes and stimulate innovations, in a financial industry, through an enabling outlook through a supervisory regulatory framework.
These are just some of many initiatives the bank is working on. “We believe that this will pave way for the bank to become a future engine and technologically advanced central bank, which will be responsive to ever changing advanced techs,” said Uanguta.
Fintech refers to business models that operates via online such as E-money, mobile payments and payment instruments, as well as payment cards, which is regulated by the management payment act.
The bank’s start-up initiative is currently playing a huge role in educating and training entrepreneurs by giving them platforms to pitch their business ideas and also in obtaining all relevant knowledge on business models.
In partnership with GIZ as well as the Fintech framework, of which it is said that only three applicants have applied so far, with one rejected and another undergoing consideration, the BoN is calling on more entrepreneurs to come forth and apply as this will better help the bank to iron out shortcomings and to render services at an efficient pace.
Despite all this, some entrepreneurs who were in attendance, echoed their frustrations to the long periods of waiting for their license approvals by the bank as well as calling for amendments of some of its regulations, citing them as impediments to their businesses take off.
The Deputy Director of Fintech innovative hub Dellia Maasdorp, cautioned that regulations are there to safeguard businesses, saying that if such frameworks were not in place, we would not be talking about Fintech today. She encouraged Fintech providers to approach the bank for any clarification of any sort that they wish to be sensitized of.