Cashless economy: Seychelles’ financial system will be fully digital by 2023
With this strategy, financial system services are expected to be fully digitized in two years, eliminating the use of physical cash. (Marco Verch, Flickr) Photo License: DC BY 2.0
(Seychelles News Agency) – Seychelles’ financial system will be almost fully digitized by 2023, in line with the Central Bank’s technology integration strategy, a senior official said on Thursday.
As the government pushes for digital governance, the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) had its fintech strategy approved by the Cabinet of Ministers last month.
With this strategy, financial system services are expected to be fully digitized in two years, eliminating the use of physical cash.
“This strategy highlights CBS’s contribution to a digital economy and something we have been working on for some time. It will go a long way towards improving the efficiency of the financial sector in Seychelles,” said CBS Governor Caroline Abel. .
Financial technology, or fintech, is the use of innovative technologies in the design and delivery of financial services and products. It has immense potential to contribute to economic and social development whereby it can transform the way governments, businesses, civil society and citizens interact and help improve the ease of doing business.
Central Bank financial analyst Brigitte Lucas outlined three pillars of the strategy, the first being the establishment of an appropriate digital infrastructure.
“This includes creating appropriate payment systems, enabling better and affordable access to the internet as well as other infrastructure to ensure security and trust in services,” Lucas said.
The second pillar concerns all the legal aspects of the strategy. This mainly involves making necessary amendments to existing laws, such as the National Payment Systems Act, the Financial Institutions Act, and the Cybercrime Bill, among others.
The third pillar is the fintech ecosystem and this will see the establishment of fintech services for government, private sector and finance and skills development to encourage fintech supply and demand.
“Work has already started on the implementation of the strategy, where we have already started discussions with partners regarding the implementation of payment platforms locally, the reduction of fees charged for digital payments, the reliability and the internet affordability,” Lucas added.
A number of concerns have been raised in the past regarding access to digital financial services and one of these is the time it takes for a transaction to be completed once a request is made, particularly for transfer money from one bank account to another.
Liz Julienne, director of financial inclusion and market conduct, said CBS has “already started working with local banks to see how these services can be offered around the clock and in real time, but there are various mechanisms that need to be put in place to ensure the implementation of these measures.”
She also revealed that CBS will conduct a study in 2022 where they will examine the reliability and affordability of current fintech systems, which will help better implement the strategy.
With the shift to digital services, some people are looking to exploit weaknesses, especially true when it comes to digital services.
Abel said CBS is doing a lot of work to ensure that through fintech, privacy and security can be maintained.
“When we talk about technology, there can never be 100% reliability, but what we want is to make sure that these systems are well established, tested and up to date to face all the attacks that the people are proposing,” Abel said.
She added that this will include better equipping the current institutions that oversee financial services and cybercrime in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.