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AfricaMoney | August 21, 2017

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IMF’s Mobile Financial Services seminar in Mauritius mulls regulatory challenges

IMF’s Mobile Financial Services seminar in Mauritius mulls regulatory challenges

The rapid growth in MFS, its potential to boost financial inclusion as well as important regulatory challenges formed the core of the seminar talks. (Image: IFC)

The seminar on “Mobile Financial Services (MFS): Business and Regulation” which was held in Mauritius focused on the rapid growth in MFS, its potential to boost financial inclusion as well as important regulatory challenges.

The event saw Central bank officials from across Southern and Eastern Africa as well as international experts coming together to raise awareness on the importance of cross-sectoral, and cross-border supervisory cooperation.

The participants discussed various features of MFS and shared experiences on regulating this fast growing business in the region.

The seminar was organized by the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center for Southern Africa – AFRITAC South (AFS) and Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center for Eastern Africa-East AFRITAC (AFE).

Ethiopia, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia participated at the seminar with presentations on the current state of the MFS business and the regulatory/oversight framework in their respective countries.

The seminar was led by experts from the IMF, the World Bank, the Reserve Bank of India, South African Reserve Bank, and the Africa Mobile Financial Services Policy Initiative (AMPI) of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.

These experts gave insights on business models used by the MFS providers, payment system issues, emerging risks generated by the growing scale of the MFS businesss, and the need for appropriately tailored regulation and oversight of MFS including provisions related to anti-money laundering and fighting financing of terrorism to participants from their respective country’s presentation.

Mr Yandraduth Googoolye, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Mauritius, highlighted that in developing this framework, it is important to discuss with all stakeholders in order to be able to regulate MFS and to engage all the significant decision-makers in the process.

AMPI participants seized the opportunity to stress on the importance of balancing financial stability and integrity considerations with the need to foster MFS industry growth and financial inclusion of the unbanked population.

In all, 38 central bank officials attended the seminar: 19 AFS and AFE member countries from Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

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