The Challenges and Opportunities of Fintech in Developing Countries

Aissatou Barro, President, UEMOA Markets, eCurrency


The BCEAO (central bank for the WAEMU - West African Economic and Monetary Union) with the support of the World Bank organized a two-day international conference on financial technology (Fintech) in Dakar (Senegal), on October 30-31, 2019. The theme of the conference was “Challenges, Opportunities and Insights for developing countries”.

(Photo: Opening remarks by BCEAO Governor Koné)


Central bank governors, bankers and fintech experts along with eCurrency participated in a two-day, by-invitation only conference, to discuss through a series of panels the implementation of a framework to promote fintech.

During his opening statement, the Governor of BCEAO, Mr. Tiemoko Meyliet Koné, reinforced the importance of creating an enabling and supportive environment to boost digital activity. He stressed, providing data, that the growth of the activity in the WAEMU zone warranted action. The number of electronic money accounts had reached 62.9 million at the end of 2018 compared to 25 million in 2015, equivalent to a growth of 38%, bringing the rate of the population financially included from 26% in 2010 to 57.1% in 2018.


During the discussion around central bank digital currency (CBDC), the Governor insisted on the critical security aspect of CBDC and that the continued research on the subject is more than beneficial for all the stakeholders.

There are five takeaways from these sessions held over the course of the two-day conference:

  1. The inclusion of Fintech operating in the payment services segment in the member States of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) is key to digital payments progress in the region and the central bank is in full support of these initiatives.

  2. The development of an incentive regulatory framework specific to crowdfunding activities to promote and facilitate easy, collaborative access to funding for MSME to boost economic activities.

  3. The implementation of a regulatory framework for credit scoring activities, a tool to allow banks to assess the risk of a loan applicant and pursue seamless monetary creation for economic growth.

  4. The creation within the BCEAO’s headquarters of a regulatory sandbox structure enabling eligible players to test business models before launch and supervision by the regulatory authorities involved.

  5. A CBDC issued by BCEAO for WAEMU will be an integral part of the regulatory framework within which fintech will thrive and achieve true interoperability with this universal digital legal tender. As Ms. Elisabeth Huybens, director of operations at the World Bank (WB), is convinced that Africa, the world leader in mobile money, can use new technologies to support its development.


Selected proceeding materials published


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