South Africa’s financial regulators have officially launched the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) Innovation Hub to respond to changes in the financial sector driven by financial technology (fintech) and to promote responsible innovation in the sector.
The Innovation Hub is intended to support the sector in introducing innovations that complement the core mandates of regulators, including financial stability and soundness, consumer protection, financial inclusion and fair lending practices.
Fintech innovation leverages technology to address inefficiencies and other challenges in the financial sector. 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.
The Innovation Hub provides assistance to innovators in the financial technology space. Support for these innovators comes from the IFWG members, including 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, from a start-up or an established fintech firm to an incumbent financial service provider or an adjacent industry entering the financial services market (e.g., retail, telecommunications).
Over time, it is the IFWG hopes that its efforts to promote responsible financial sector innovation could have the potential to generate economic benefit for individuals, businesses and – in sum – the country at large.