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Kuwait Debuts FinTech Sandbox

As proof that FinTech sandboxes are going global, Kuwait has become the latest player in the Middle East to debut a framework. Elsewhere, a Kenyan bank has embraced FinTech for money transfer activities.

As evidence that sandboxes are ever-increasingly a global phenomenon, Kuwait’s central bank put forth guidelines this week that are geared toward companies seeking to meld financial technology (FinTech) and financial services (FinServ).

The sandbox, Reuters reported, has four phases. The newswire said representatives from local banks will sign on with a task force from the central bank, which will assess the financial products and services that are being proposed.

The Kuwait initiative now joins FinTech efforts that span the Gulf region and include, for example, Bahrain, where there is a FinTech regulatory unit in place. As previously reported, Saudi Arabia has trained sights on FinTech as well, specifically in Riyadh.

FinTech Efforts In Africa

Separately, McKinsey said in a report that, in Kenya, banks risk displacement by tech-powered upstarts, and traditional finance players must make efforts to protect their position in payments and commerce. The statements came tied to the company’s eighth annual review of the global banking industry. Specifically in Kenya, the landscape has seen a shift amid new payment methods, covering offerings such as M-Pesa. FinTech firms, said McKinsey, have gathered as many as 20 million customers there.

The Daily Nation, quoting the report, said, “In devising their strategies, banks could focus on owning the next generation payments landscape (for example, contactless, QR, eCommerce, etc.) and building an ecosystem of value-added services to recapture share in everyday commerce and transactions,” said McKinsey Partner Tawanda Sibanda.

“Banks could also move first to serve the long-tail of underserved small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the market through entirely digital offerings,” noted the partner.

The report posited that FinTech firms, especially those offering mobile loans, are marked by relatively loose regulations, as compared to those that govern banks.

The McKinsey observances also came amid news this week that SimbaPay, based in the U.K., has partnered with Kenya’s Family Bank Limited, as announced Wednesday (Nov. 28). The duo are working on an instant money transfer service from Kenya to China via WeChat.

SimbaPay said the deal will boost trade between Kenya and China. About 7 million customers and corporates, based in Kenya, will now have access to SimbaPay’s international money transfer service. These customers will be able to send money to WeChat Pay from Family Bank’s PesaPap mobile banking application and USSD service.

In Asia, Nikkei Business Review reported that LINE, the Japanese app developer, will debut digital banking services by 2020 in tandem with Mizuho Financial Group. The tech firm seeks to capitalize on its installed user base of 78 million, said the business in publication. The initial joint efforts will focus on users remitting funds through smartphones and on offering small loans.

LINE‘s entry could lower the barriers for young customers to seek out financial services,” noted Nikkei. The move came after the company debuted LINE Financial in January. The number of locations that currently accept payments through the LINE Pay mobile offerings stands at 1 million.


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