Vice President of the Republic of Seychelles, Vincent Meriton delivers his opening remarks at the "Building a FinTech Platform for Seychelles" Workshop on 8 May, 2019.

"Building a FinTech Platform for Seychelles" Workshop
Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Opening remarks from Vincent Meriton, VP of the Republic of Seychelles

Minister for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne

Governor of the Central Bank, Ms Caroline Abel

Deputy Executive Director, Alliance for Financial Inclusion, Mr Norbert Mumba

Representatives of the World Bank Group

Representatives of SADC Central Banks

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentleman

Good Morning

Seychelles may be one of the smallest nations in the world, but it does not operate in isolation. Our country is one that strives to remain informed of developments in various fields.

For this very reason, I am deeply honoured to be present for the launch of yet another important undertaking, which will ensure that Seychelles is not left behind when it comes to advances in the financial sector.

Financial Technology or Fintech is rapidly changing the global economic and financial landscape.

We cannot ignore the fact that this phenomenon has already reached our doorsteps, although much remains to be done for us to keep pace.

The dialogue and interactions that will unfold over the next three days will undoubtedly help to chart the way for us to identify the opportunities, as we endeavour to build a Fintech platform for Seychelles. Before going any further, I would like to commend the local stakeholders, particularly the Central Bank of Seychelles and the Financial Services Authority, that have worked tirelessly to put this event together.

I would also like to express the sincere gratitude of the Government of Seychelles to the international partners, making mention of the World Bank Group and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, for their valuable support and guidance.

Ladies and Gentlemen

In recent years, technology has shifted the way we are kept informed of the latest news, do our shopping, find our way around, stay in touch with friends and families – to sum it up technology has transformed the way we go about our daily lives. While research has shown that the majority of people in Seychelles prefer the use of cash and cheques over electronic means of payment, there is undoubtedly, growing interest in the cutting-edge technologies that are also transforming the economic and financial landscape. Individuals, businesses and even the government, are slowly starting to take note of emerging technologies, such as from distributed ledger to cognitive computing. Advances in payment options; such as mobile banking, among others, that are impacting the design and delivery of financial services and products.

Fintech has the potential to be the driving force of several initiatives outlined in the Seychelles’ Financial Sector Development Implementation Plan, such as the development of the national payment system and other financial infrastructures, improving access to credit for small and medium enterprises, fostering capital market developments, the enhancement of competition and innovation, and the promotion of greater financial stability. Yes, the development and expansion of the Fintech agenda is crucial but will require the formulation of a joint national strategy that clearly outlines the individual roles and responsibilities of every stakeholder.

This strategy will contribute towards the overall synergy and coordination that will guide efforts to build the country’s Fintech ecosystem and subsequent development of the financial sector. As we progress, all industry stakeholders will need to play their part in creating an environment that is conducive to technological advances and innovative business models for the benefit of the financial industry.

As you engage in discussions over the coming three days, I am looking forward to your contributions and most importantly on Financial Inclusion.

It is crucial that we understand how financial technologies can be used to empower consumers.
Fostering access to useful and affordable financial services and products to individuals of different age groups and walks of life should be prioritised, and I firmly believe that Fintech will further assist us in making enormous strides in this area. It is evident that Fintech has the potential to help create an enabling environment to allow for the enhancement in standards and stimulate growth in the financial sector. It is further expected that in the long run, it will also support the creation of employment, wealth, more innovation and societal well-being.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am conscious that this will not be a trivial undertaking. A lot needs to be done. This workshop is a stepping stone, and was conceived to provide a platform that will bring more insight on this topic, allowing for the exchange of opinions, sharing ideas with a view of drawing the outlines of our very own Fintech Strategy.

While I have touched upon some of the advantages, I am equally cognisant of the challenges and risks that the implementation of more Fintech initiatives may bring.

There will also have to be substantial investment to deploy and support these technologies, as well to mitigate the associated risks.

As we push forward, many questions may arise – such as, is this the end of traditional banking as we know it, or are there ways to merge the two going forward?

Views will also vary on whether Fintech is more of an opportunity or a challenge for Seychelles.

Let me conclude by saying that Fintech is here, and it is to stay.

You have the task of exploring every aspect of this phenomenon to ensure that the decisions taken will be the best for the country.

Seeing the wealth of experience gathered around this room, I am confident that the discussions will only generate beneficial results.

To the international guests, it is a pleasure to have you with us, and I hope that you also have the opportunity to explore our beautiful country.

Thank you.

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