Zimbabwe: RBZ to Drive Fintech Development

23 September 2019

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is warming up to local and foreign companies willing to offer Financial Technology (Fintech) services and products in the country.

The development comes in the wake of heightened increase of technological innovations that have significantly transformed the financial landscape and the way financial institutions offer services and products.

In the recent Mid-Term Monetary Policy Statement, the central bank indicated that it believes responding to the rapid technological changes has the potential to promote economic growth and relevance to the unfolding technological trends.

"As a result of the technological developments, there has been a surge in the number of enquiries and proposals from local and foreign companies intending to offer Financial Technology (Fintech) services and products in the country.

"Zimbabwe has not been spared from these technological innovations, which are significantly altering the financial landscape.

"The Reserve Bank recognises the important role of fintech and innovation and the need to harness and leverage on the technology advancements to enable the financial services industry to offer wide range of products and services," said RBZ in the monetary policy.

Meanwhile, in the report, a National Fintech Steering Committee comprising Government line ministries, Government departments and regulatory agencies has been put up to provide strategic policy direction in the Fintech space and collaborative effort to come up with a National Fintech Strategy.

"An Interagency Fintech Working Group (IFWG), comprised of technical staff across Government line ministries, Government departments and regulatory agencies as well as relevant stakeholders was constituted.

"The IFWG is supported by the following thematic working committees a) Legal/Regulatory b)Crypto Assets and Digital Currencies c)Innovation/Technical; and) Consumer Protection."

However, the RBZ was quick to point out the need to establish robust security measures to counter risks that come with cyber world.

"The Reserve Bank is thus committed to promoting a legal and regulatory environment supportive of innovation and the adoption and usage of Fintech by financial institutions while ensuring attendant risks are identified and mitigated.

"Notwithstanding the benefits, the new technological innovations bring to the fore additional risks that should be mitigated in a manner that balances innovation and financial stability," said RBZ.

There has been need in recent times to put in place a regulatory framework to avoid arbitrage, create an enabling environment for Fintech as well as a consistent approach in understanding and regulating Fintech, build consumer awareness and education and establish institutional arrangements to ensure a co-ordinated approach among stakeholders.

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