Technology has been at the forefront of Africa’s financial inclusion success. But, unless used responsibly, technology can also harm more than it helps, says Rogerio Lucas Zandamela, Governor of Banco de Moçambique.
Technology is playing a key role in advancing and promoting financial inclusion. In Africa, the wide availability of affordable mobile phones has created the conditions for rapid growth in digital financial services. Just as important as technology, however, has been enlightened regulation.
Creating digital platforms that are convenient, efficient, and safe is to everyone’s benefit. It breaks down barriers of access, affordability, and integrity. It unlocks opportunities, opening doors to those who have been left behind by reaching the most remote areas of our countries. Regulators should therefore support the development of digital financial services by creating frameworks that encourage innovation.
The greater society’s exposure to digital technology, however, the more exposed we become to digital risks, both to the consumer and to systems. That’s why, in Mozambique, one of our key priorities has been to develop a regulatory sandbox. This is a controlled environment that allows the central bank and technology companies to test innovations, to make sure they are affordable, practical, and safe.
Equally important is financial literacy. Providing access to new technology is not enough; we must ensure that consumers understand what they are using, and how they can protect themselves.
By keeping these principles of testing, security, and literacy in mind, regulators can ensure that innovation benefits all of society and that new technologies translate to expanded access and use of safe financial services.