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Fintech policy ‘ups competitiveness’

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Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth at Tuesday’s National Consultative Workshop on Policies and Directions of the Cambodian Financial Technology Sector. FINANCE MINISTRY

Fintech policy ‘ups competitiveness’

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth has predicted that Cambodia’s upcoming Financial Technology Development Policy will play an important part in building the Kingdom’s fintech infrastructure and enhancing its competitive edge.

Pornmoniroth made this observation at the National Consultative Workshop on Policies and Directions of the Cambodian Financial Technology Sector, held on April 26 in Phnom Penh and attended by government institutions, international embassies, development partners and business representatives.

He observed that the Cambodian financial industry has achieved rapid growth over the last decade and has been responsible for an increasing share of national economic growth. This has been achieved by improving financial inclusion both in urban and rural areas, he said, as reflected by a dramatic increase in the number of microfinance institutions and payment service providers nationwide.

He noted that several sub-sectors of the non-banking financial sector had also begun to grow, and predicted that there was high potential for them to further boost national economic growth via attracting customer interest in innovative products.

“The growth of this sector has made it attractive to continue to invest in fintech, especially in the development of innovative services and products, as well as to seize new opportunities to meet the ‘real’ needs of customers, especially amongst the young,” he said.

Pornmoniroth noted that during the Covid-19 pandemic, any financial institution that seized and used technology to turn the crisis into a new opportunity to expand and fortify its services emerged the victor.

The finance minister also used the workshop to emphasise that the new fintech policy would be collaborative in nature, and that its success would depend on the input of industry players.

“To ensure the policy has a sharp and comprehensive interface, continuing to collect more and better input from relevant actors in fintech in the process of drafting this policy is absolutely necessary,” he said.

Kong Mary, secretary-general of the General Secretariat of the Digital Economy and Business Committee in Cambodia, said that the use of e-payment technology has been continuing to grow, as evidenced by the increasing number of digital deposit accounts, e-wallets and virtual cards, as well as the modernisation of payment infrastructure.

A recent report released by the National Bank of Cambodia showed that as of 2021, a total of 13.6 million users have been responsible for online transactions amounting to $113.67 billion across 69 financial institutions’ mobile payment platforms.

Among the more than 50 fintech entities operating in Cambodia, 24 are companies with business models focused on inter-digital payments.

Mary also highlighted the importance of telecommunications innovation in aiding the growth of the Kingdom’s fintech sector.

“Capitalising on the growing use of mobile phones and the internet in Cambodian society has been enabling businesspeople, especially in the financial sector, to be able to expand their financial services more efficiently and widen their scope, using digital technology as the core,” he said.

According to a report by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, Cambodia had 20.5 million mobile subscribers as of August 2020, and 17.59 million internet users as of January 2022.

Pornmoniroth said he requested that the fintech policy working group organise a series of workshops focusing on the priorities of the financial sector and its sub-sectors.

“I sincerely hope that the fintech companies, government institution, businesspeople and innovators who attended this workshop will actively participate in sharing knowledge and experience, and provide input, thereby being a valuable asset for the policy team during the implementation process,” he said.

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