South Africa’s Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) has rolled out an innovation hub to boost fintech firms’ offerings and productivity to help the financial services industry in the country.
The programme will allow companies to trial the effectiveness and regulatory fitness of tools and technological innovations through the hub, which the IFWG had already hinted at in January 2020.
“Fintech innovation leverages technology to address inefficiencies and other challenges in the financial sector,” the group said.
“It embraces agility, adaptability and responsiveness, traits that are essential as local and global economies navigate this period of uncertainty.
“To help address the expected economic impact of the covid-19 pandemic, the IFWG believes innovation among fintech firms and other financial sector innovators is required now more than ever and, therefore, must be supported.”
Firms that wish to take part will be supported by members of the IFWG, include; the Financial Intelligence Centre, Financial Sector Conduct Authority, National Credit Regulator, National Treasury, South African Revenue Service and South African Reserve Bank.
“The Innovation Hub is open to all financial sector innovators, whether from a start-up, an established fintech firm, an incumbent financial service provider or an adjacent industry entering the financial services market (eg retail, telecommunications),” the intergovernmental group added.
Companies will be able to benefit from three different support pathways:
- Regulatory guidance will help businesses resolve specific questions regarding the policy landscape and regulatory requirements.
- The regulatory sandbox provides them with an opportunity to test products and services and check their compliance with current financial regulations.
- The innovation accelerator gives firms the opportunity to connect with other companies using the hub to learn from and work with each other.
With this initiative, the IFWG said it wants to “promote responsible financial sector innovation [that] could have the potential to generate economic benefit for individuals, businesses and – in sum – the country at large”.