Fintech, Inclusive Growth and Cyber Risks: A Focus on the MENAP and CCA Regions

Financial technology (fintech) is emerging as an innovative way to achieve financial inclusion and the broader objective of inclusive growth. In addition to improving the speed, convenience, and efficiency of financial services, fintech has potential to promote financial inclusion. More specifically, it can enhance access to affordable financial services for unbanked populations and underserved small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs); reduce delays and costs in cross-border remittances; foster efficiencies and transparency in government operations, which helps reduce corruption, and facilitate social and humanitarian transfers in a manner that preserves human dignity.
For the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan (MENAP) and Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) regions, fintech has a particularly valuable role to play as these potential benefits are aligned with the regions’ policy priorities. Both regions have countries with large unbanked populations, SMEs whose growth is constrained by limited access to finance, high youth unemployment, large remittance markets and informal transfers (Hawala), undiversified economies, vulnerabilities to terrorism, large income disparities, large displaced populations, and endemic corruption. Fintech innovations and underlying technologies can contribute to the solutions for many of these challenges.

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