Botswana: Investing in Botswana's Fintech Sector

Gaborone — Executive Director of Brand Management at Botswana Investment Trade Centre (BITC), Ms Kutlo Moagi says embracing Financial Technology (FinTech) can yield dividends for the economy.

Ms Moagi said FinTech could also lead to sustained digital evolution as a driver for inclusive and higher economic growth rate.

She said demographics and other micro indicators had rendered Botswana eligible and ready to do business with Indian financial technology companies.

In an interview with BOPA recently, after a recent Fintech Webinar between the Indian financial technology companies and some Botswana executives, Ms Moagi said the basis for the collaboration was to afford the audience an unparalleled insight into Botswana's FinTech sector; from the country's investment climate and incentives on the ground as articulated by BITC; to issues of market liberalisation and the licensing framework as deliberated broadly by BOCRA.

The collaboration, she said, also presented Digital Payment Systems and the overall Financial Inclusion Roadmap (FIR) from a regulatory point of view as discussed by Bank of Botswana (BoB) in the webinar.

She said such could be leveraged on enhanced efficiency and effectiveness of policy implementation as well as sectoral regulations.

"The FinTech Webinar highlighted Botswana's Financial Inclusion Roadmap, which was first conceived through the Financial Sector Development Strategy of 2012 -2016 as well as the Making Access Possible (MAP) approach as adopted by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in the 2015 Budget Speech," she emphasised.

In addition, Ms Moagi indicated that Botswana now had the necessary infrastructure and statutory instruments in place to grow the FinTech sector, adding that the country had been experiencing a lot of interest in various FinTech application solutions from local and foreign potential investors.

"Locally, the country has seen a tremendous growth in FinTech Mobile Money Transfer services, driven through local mobile telephone company operators and financial institutions, with a heightened appetite for a more inclusive financial services value chain," she said.

It has been indicated that the value of FinTech-related transactions has also grown tremendously over the past five years, creating readiness to explore and harness on potential business opportunities along the FinTech Value Chain, Ms Moagi added.

The webinar identified the broader ICT sector as one of the leading sectors to promote post COVID-19 and encourages citizens to utilise existing electronic commerce platforms as a means of obtaining and dispensing goods and services, she said.

Other desirable attributes put forward as platforms that make it conducive to do business locally include; strong balance sheet, good political stability and highest sovereign credit rating in Africa as rated by Moody's and Standard & Poor, among others, Moagi said.

She stated that the agribusiness sectors was pronounced as having a lot of room for external players to explore and find opportunities, particularly with great emphasis on primary production, agro processing, feeds and fertilizers, pig and dairy cow farming, since the country is not self-sustained in such.

Botswana's global connectivity erases possible limitations and further makes it possible to forge ties and serve the international market from the country's periphery, she said.

Furthermore, the webinar indicated that COVID-19 pandemic has prepared Batswana to consider using available local FinTech solutions that are now reaching the unbanked and underserved population, leveraging on the existing robust communications infrastructure and enabling policy and regulatory framework.

Regarding cyber security, Ms Moagi said BoB deliberated in detail the legislation and regulation framework, which include the Financial Intelligence Act, Electronic Evidence/Records Act as well as Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, which all encompass elements of cyber security as well as prevention, suppression and disruption of money laundering.

"Given current global uncertainties as a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, BITC has refocused its approach to promote Botswana's investment prospects through virtual platforms such as webinars," Ms Moagi reiterated.

She said webinars were a great way to promote Botswana and its investment potential due to their effective and interactive platforms that allowed for high level engagement and dialogue.

The FinTech Webinar, which ran under the topic: Investing in Botswana's FinTech Sector, was hosted by BITC chief executive officer, Mr Keletsositse Olebile in partnership with BoB deputy governor, Mr Kealeboga Masalila as well as BOCRA's director of Licensing and Postal Regulation, Mr Murphy Setshwane.

Source : BOPA

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