The Cambodian Association of Finance and Technology (CAFT) presented its vision for the future of the industry at its first annual general meeting. The event, which featured speakers from the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, brought together leaders from various sectors including payment service institutions (PSI), agritech, insurance, banking, micro-finance and real estate.
Remi Pell, chairman of CAFT, said the event was unique in that it brought together leaders from a variey of sectors, which would help fintech to be more broadly understood and used.
“It is important to bring together a wide diaspora of the business community. because it allows us to meet with different industries and showcase what we can achieve together through collaboration and innovation,” said Pell.
CAFT merged with the Cambodia Fintech Association in 2020. Chea Serey, assistant-governor and director-general of the NBC, said the union was significant because it provided a single voice for the industry, making it easier for government regulators to work with.
Since the merger, CAFT has also become a member of the Association of Banks in Cambodia, allowing it to receive government support more broadly.
For its first full year of operations, the group has several different initiatives in the pipeline to encourage innovation and promote fintech in Cambodia.
Those projects include the World Fintech Festival, a student programme funding challenge and a regulatory sandbox.
Tomas Pokorny, secretary-general of CAFT and a founding member of PiPay (which hails itself as the fastest, most secure way to send and receive money), describes the sandbox as a “small fintech village” or “innovation lab”, a physical location similar to those in Singapore with regulatory framework oversight, that will allow financial institutions and startups to test new products and features without affecting the financial landscape.
“When those solutions are proven to be useful or successful, they will be able to leave the small geo-locked fintech village and scale up to a larger level,” said Pokorny, who stressed that the project is about two years away and pending regulatory reviews and approvals.
Currently CAFT is working on a concept paper that will be submitted to the NBC for approval.
“We are aiming to be the first progamme to have this unique combination of both virtual regulatory framework with regulatory participation and physical innovation through the NBC and other regulators,” said Pokorny.
Currently, the primary-use case for fintech solutions is digital remittance.
The UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific reported last year that international remittances to Cambodia were valued at $1.52 billion – about 5.6 percent of the Kingdom’s gross domestic product.
However, with many people leapfrogging traditional banking institutions and embracing the digital banking revolution, use cases have become increasingly diverse in recent years – particularly during the pandemic, according to TrueMoney Cambodia Chief Strategy Officer and CAFT Board Treasurer Frandara Khuon.
The event, held Friday at the Hyatt Regency hotel, was sponsored by Cellcard, Prudential Life Assurance and Phnom Penh Commercial Bank.