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Speaker discussing fintech at Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting

Officials meeting in Bermuda to discuss unlocking fin-tech’s benefits

24 January 2020

Central bank officials will meet in Bermuda next week to agree on a framework that can help build robust fin-tech ecosystems in their countries.

Since the 1990s, fin-tech, the use of technology to improve and automate the use of financial services, has emerged as a cheaper, quicker and faster alternative to traditional banking. It has been growing faster than any other segment of the tech industry, reaching the global market value of about $127 billion in 2018.

While some Commonwealth countries have become advanced fin-tech hubs, others have made relatively steady progress. The meeting will pool their experiences to identify model policy, legislation and regulation for a framework that can foster a healthy fin-tech environment.

The framework will be part of a Commonwealth fin-tech toolkit, designed to help member countries improve financial inclusion, boost private and monetary sector development and achieve various other economic outcomes.

Fin-tech

The fin-tech sector is known to have rapidly expanded access to finance through three major services.

First, in developing countries where most citizens do not hold a bank account, it has enabled them to send and receive money via mobile phones.

Second, the sector also offers several private-sector digital currencies such as bitcoin to help improve payment systems and cross-border transactions.

Finally, fin-tech companies give microloans to cash-starved entrepreneurs and small business owners, which are normally uneconomical for traditional banks.

Commonwealth toolkit

The proposed toolkit will guide all stakeholders including the treasury, central banks, telecom sector, and business industry to regulate fin-tech services, monitor the monetary system, improve cybersecurity and educate the public.

Premier of Bermuda David Burt will join Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Arjoon Suddhoo to open the meeting on 29 January in the capital, Hamilton.

The Deputy Secretary-General said: “We are grateful to the Government of Bermuda for supporting the Commonwealth in this endeavour.

“Some Commonwealth countries have excelled in the fin-tech industry. They have functional and technical experiences that can help other member countries leverage this innovation to maximise economic benefits.

“In order for this technology to thrive in all our member countries, this toolkit will be a valuable asset to help countries develop a conducive ecosystem which not only makes a profit but can also address poverty and economic isolation.”

The Commonwealth is hosting the meeting in partnership with the government of Bermuda from 29 to 30 January. Leading fin-tech experts and central banks officials from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe will attend the meeting.

Notes to Editor

All media (print, broadcast and online) wanting to interview the Deputy Secretary-General either in person or remotely are requested to enquire in writing to [email protected]

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