Financial technology beneficial

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mr Kenneth Matambo has said while adoption of financial technology has benefits, it should be done in a safe, sound and stable manner.  

Officially opening a conference on balancing  Fintech opportunities and risks in Gaborone on June 24, the minister said the financial sector should further be capable of withstanding business and economic cycles as well as shocks from any source. 

“In essence, a sound and stable financial system should facilitate effective financial intermediation, mobilising resources and productively deploying or allocating such resources for private investment, consumption and government funding in a prudent and sustainable manner,” he said. 

The minister said Fintech should expand business services and reach other segments of the society which had not been served or were underserved. 

Adoption of new technologies and innovation to credit assessments should enhance allocative efficiency, competitive pricing and inclusive financial systems. 

The minister said all this however could be achieved if individual financial institutions were managed in a prudent, safe and sound manner. 

Mr Matambo said there was need to continue to mitigate,  manage and respond to risks related to the provision of financial services and use of information and communications technology for service delivery. 

The new technology introduces risks such as cyber threats, infiltration of systems and data that can spread quickly with wider geographical and customer reach. “In the event, there can be financial losses to individual account holders and undermining of the integrity of the financial system,” he said. 

This, the minister said, called for policy development and regulation. 

He said Fintech should be embraced as integral to the financial sector development and inclusion agenda. 

Minister Matambo said he hoped Southern African countries would align the Bali Fintech Agenda by aligning it to their development imperatives. 

He said this was because there were financial sector developments, access and inclusion gaps in the region. 

Advances in technology presents opportunities and harnessing them has larger economic and society wide benefits. 

Regarding the local financial sector, the minister said as at December 2018, the ratio or broader financial sector assets to GDP was 199 per cent whereas the total banking assets relative to GDP was 48.1 per cent. 

The financial inclusive study undertaken in 2014, Finscope Consumer Survey, indicated that 76 per cent of the adult population had access to some form of formal financial services. 

Minister Matambo said the remaining 24 per cent did not use any financial products and did not have access to any form of financial services. 

He said on this background, a national Financial Inclusion Roadmap that...

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