The Cambodian government unveiled last month the Cambodia Financial Technology Development Policy 2023-2028, a new strategy designed to promote financial innovation, maintain financial stability and enhance financial inclusion.
The launch ceremony was held on October 04 alongside a workshop presided over by Aun Pornmoniroth, Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy and Finance, and the Chairman of the Digital Economy and Business Committee.
The workshop was attended by high-ranking officials representing different stakeholders in the fintech ecosystem including Cambodian ministries, public institutions, regulators, embassies, banking and financial institutions, insurance firms, educational organizations, trade groups and private companies. It focused on creating awareness about the policy and promoting the development of fintech in Cambodia.
During the workshop, Pornmoniroth provided five recommendations and guidance for responsible ministries, public institutions, and relevant stakeholders to effectively implement the new policy.
These recommendations include the development of clear action plans, research and sharing on experience, capacity building, as well as the fostering of a close collaboration culture characterized by proactiveness, ownership, and a strong sense of responsibility.
Cambodia’s new fintech policy
The Cambodia Financial Technology Development Policy 2023-2028 is a national plan designed to develop Cambodia’s fintech industry by creating a more conducive environment for the sector’s growth. The government hopes that the growth of fintech in Cambodia will subsequently help accelerate the development of the country’s digital economy and society, and provide opportunities for all stakeholders through financial innovation and improved access to financial services.
The strategy has four main objectives, which are the development of policy enablers; the development of digital enablers; the promotion of the use and development of enabling technologies; and the promotion of the development and innovation of fintech activities. A total of 52 policy measures will be deployed to achieve these goals, the government said.
The National Bank of Cambodia, the country’s central bank, and regulators under the Non-Bank Financial Services Authority, will be the two key actors in charge of implementing the plan.
However, other ministries and public institutions such as the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications and the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, under the coordination and leadership of the Digital Economy and Business Committee, will also be asked to collaborate to ensure the successful implementation and deployment of the strategy, the government said.
A new era in fintech innovation in Cambodia
For Sisavuthara Sim, founder and CEO of Nexus Capital and Investment Advisory, a financing and investment consultancy firm headquartered in Phnom Penh, the new policy is set to usher in a new era in the domestic fintech landscape.
By providing greater regulatory clarity to entrepreneurs, investors and other key stakeholders, the strategy will help bring in foreign fintech firms and financiers, Sisavuthara told the Khmer Times on October 23.
“The new Cambodian policy will better allow fintech business from abroad to begin to enter the market seriously with these types of business ventures, with confidence in the legislative climate and understanding of compliance mechanisms in place in Cambodia,” Sisavuthara said.
“I see great potential in the new fintech policy to open Cambodia’s door’s to a new wave of foreign and local investment into the fintech sector through a removal of any grey areas that may have been influencing the sector’s ability to attract new investors into the industry, both big and small.”
Sisavuthara highlighted that apart from the growth of fintech investment and the expansion of the industry, the new policy will also be contributing to the evolution of the labor market and facilitate skill-sharing among local entrepreneurs.
“As new fintech investors from abroad launch new businesses in Cambodia in coming years, they will not only invest financially in Cambodia but their business will effectively exchange skills and ideas with local entrepreneurs, and breed the next generation of successful Cambodian-run fintech players and enterprises,” Sisavuthara said.
Compared to some of its Southeast Asian neighbors including Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam, Cambodia has a much smaller and less developed fintech sector. This is despite benefiting from a young, tech-savvy population, a high percentage of unbanked individuals, and a growing smartphone penetration rate, which set a fertile ground for fintech growth.
The launch of the new fintech policy comes at a time when Cambodia is starting to see growth in digital payment usage.
According to the NBC’s Annual Supervision Report 2022, the total number of transactions jumped from 708 million to 1 billion in 2022 with a total amount of US$272.8 billion in transactions value. The sum represents an increase of 34% over a year long period. NBC data also reveal that the number of e-wallet accounts surged from 13.6 million in 2021 to 19.5 million in 2022.
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