The benefits of successful digital transformation can be enormous for national economies and companies in today’s hyper-competitive global markets. Against the backdrop of a global health and economic crisis, no company – and no government, for that matter – can afford to ignore the opportunities that new technology offers to improve day-today services.
A new report, FinTech Growth in Emerging Markets: Key Lessons from Industry Leaders, from Access Partnership, a global tech policy firm, highlights this further.
Financial technology (FinTech) is a major digital transformation force, challenging traditional structures and improving efficiency across the financial services value chain. FinTech as a technological enabler is seeing rapid uptake in emerging markets, improving financial inclusion and serving as a catalyst for innovation across industry sectors and socioeconomic levels. In these markets, there are still large gaps in access to finance, with one-third of adults (1.7 billion) lacking access to a basic transaction account.
This is paired with low savings rates and insufficient access to credit, making the case for FinTech more visible. Governments need to take stock of the wave of innovation being led by FinTechs while addressing issues including financial inclusion, competition, enabling regulation, consumer protection and cybersecurity risk. Tackling these priorities is challenging for all stakeholders and requires a thoughtful approach from innovators.
So how can FinTechs successfully navigate the challenges of emerging markets? Based on interviews with leading companies in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, Access Partnership presents its analysis of five key lessons for companies developing disruptive technologies in these markets today. This report looks at 5 key alternatives:
1. Avoid Surprises: Invest in Policy Capital. Understanding policy, politics and regulations grants competitive and commercial advantage to businesses.
2. Trail Enabling Regulation. FinTechs need to advocate for the regulatory tools that will allow them to flourish: cross-border data flows, enabling privacy regimes, data classification and portability, regulatory sandboxes and “test and learn” approaches.
3. Develop Capacity to Counter Cybersecurity Risks. Capacity-building initiatives and collaboration between the public and private sectors builds resilience and safeguards the financial services industry.
4. Build Partnerships to Thrive. Incumbent financial institutions working alongside FinTech trailblazers guarantees robust partnerships that will advance commercial and regulatory goals.
5. Capitalise on COVID-19 Digital Recovery. Increased attention to digital financial solutions in the context of COVID-19 has created momentum for FinTechs and gives them a seat in policy discussions.