Fintech industry ups push for digital currency

The bitcoin [Courtesy]

The government has been urged to back the quest to deepen financial inclusion through digital and decentralised finance.

The call comes in the wake of global financial disruptions propelled by the internet of things, blockchain technology and digital currencies, where a number of countries are enjoying the dividends of early adoption.

Kenya, however, is still held back by what digital finance stakeholders term as unfounded fears, given the country’s growing influence in the continent on economic and political matters.

Laying the groundwork for the debate during the Africa Digital Finance Summit in Nairobi on Tuesday were top officials from Namibia and Togo, who challenged the continent to rise to the occasion or risk being left behind by disruptive technological developments.

Namibia Minister for Information and Technology Peya Mushelenga called on African peers to digitise and liberalise the economy, adding that digital and democratised finance fosters financial inclusion for the benefit of the adopting countries.

“Digital finance is a way to financial independence away from the control of financial institutions,” he said.

Togo Secretary of State for Financial Inclusion Mazamesso Assih said the shared dream of a fully digital economy could only be realised if the continent’s population is fully empowered.

She called on governments to support the fintech ecosystem to entrench financial inclusion.

According to World Bank, 1.7 billion adults are still unbanked globally yet about two-thirds of them own a mobile phone that could help them access financial services. In Sub-Saharan Africa, less than 15 per cent of adults are banked.

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