Tunisia: BCT Announces Official Launch of Regulatory Sandbox

Tunis/Tunisia — The Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) announced on Tuesday in Tunis the official launch of the Regulatory Sandbox, defined as a test environment to monitor the experimentation of innovative solutions proposed by Fintechs (financial technology companies) on a small scale and with voluntary customers.

"It is a synergy between the world of innovation and regulation that must surely change," said BCT Governor Marouane Abassi at the launch ceremony.

"The objective is to ensure inclusion and financial innovation and change the banking model by moving towards the restructuring and digitalisation of banks, to change the ecosystem quickly," he indicated, pointing out that the year 2020-2021 must be the year of the knowledge economy.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Communication Technologies and Digital Economy Anouar Maarouf commended the BCT's initiative to launch a Sandbox which "must succeed and be generalised to other sectors such as transport."

"The Sandbox is an opportunity for dozens of fintech companies to test their technological solutions and understand the regulatory requirements in force, in order to promote a financial services' offer adapted to the needs of the market," he said.

The minister added that thanks to the Sandbox and other similar initiatives, the 200 labelled start-ups launched by youths will be able to develop their activities in Tunisia within a regulatory framework and not be obliged to go abroad.

First 100% digital bank to start activity in 2020

In this regard, Maarouf pointed out that a new solution for international payments will be announced in the coming days, indicating that the year 2020 will witness the entry into force of the first 100% digital and branchless bank.

For his part, World Bank (WB) Representative Onur Ozlu indicated that the Sandbox represents many opportunities, notably for youths. The Sandbox is a component with a more important axis supported by the WB in to ensure financial inclusion in Tunisia, which is fintech and innovation.

He added that the WB also supports the development of digital payment and the strengthening of the central bank's oversight role in this new digital economy system.

Taking the floor, President of the Tunisian Professional Association of Banks Hadj Kouider highlighted the importance of the entry into force of the first Sandbox in North Africa which is part of efforts to digitise and improve the banking process.

"Due to technological changes in the recent years, many professions within the bank have disappeared and others have emerged. It is now necessary to keep up with this technological development and give the Fintech the opportunity to develop, while strengthening the regulatory framework and facilitating access to financing," Kouider underlined.

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