Central Bank of Mauritania
« Transformation » Award:
Best fintech challenge
With the ambition of "Reinventing Finance in Mauritania", the Central Bank of Mauritania (BCM) has been able to translate its willingness to digitalize the country's financial sector through the BCM Fintech Challenge, which is part of the strategy envisaged by the BCM which consists in connecting startups, with high technological potential, with the country's financial players, namely banks, financial institutions, telecom operators, etc.. This Win-Win partnership is opportune for fintechs that will benefit from financing and legal / managerial support likely to optimize their capacity for innovation, with a focus on different aspects of technology (blockchain, cognitive computing, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, Big data, etc.). For companies, they will be able to accelerate their innovation process by taking advantage of the agility and creativity of start-ups, whose structure is better adapted to current challenges, enabling them to rapidly develop cutting-edge technological solutions. In addition to the levers that this initiative presents for both parties, the BCM Fintech Challenge is above all one of the pillars of digital development at the national level, with the following objectives, which are consistent with the country's financial perspectives as well as offering a maximum of convergence between the expectations of fintechs and the the country’s financial players:
Financial inclusion: to promote access to formal financial services for the unbanked, at an affordable cost, and to enable them to benefit from the offers and services of the banking circuit;
Development of Fintechs: to propel the development of fintechs by offering an ecosystem of partnerships, particularly in terms of support, financing and monitoring, based on specialized acceleration programmes;
Improving the quality of financial services: boosting digital innovations to improve the quality of the services offered, with the aim of meeting the requirements of users whose way of using financial services is strongly impacted by digital technology;
Adoption of disruptive technologies: stimulate and encourage disruptive innovations in the financial sector by implementing new solutions based on artificial intelligence, Big data, Blockchain, Machine learning;
Cashless Society: in the interests of economic development, consumer protection and the fight against financial fraud, this challenge aims to gradually eliminate the use of cash for financial transactions.
The details of the challenge
Thus, for its first edition in 2019, the BCM Challenge Fintech has identified, among a hundred fintechs, the ten best according to the relevance, innovation and economic viability of the projects presented. The fintechs then took part in an intensive coaching cycle including business-oriented training, meetings with stakeholders in the financial ecosystem, and high-level personalised monitoring.
During the grand final, the competition brought out three winners who were rewarded with a support package offered by the central bank, including financing throughout the project's implementation (up to 50,000 euros per project), legal assistance and coaching adapted to their development needs. Three special thematic prizes amounting to 10,000 euros were offered by the Challenge's partners (Regulatory Authority, Patronage, Bank Association) to reward the best financial inclusion project, the best technological innovation and the best financial innovation.
The Challenge has thus enabled the emergence of new technological start-ups that can bring their ideas and projects to a scale up phase, with the support and guidance of large companies. The synergy generated is all the more beneficial for clients, who will be able to benefit from more convenient and practical financial services based on new technologies. Indeed, the large number of semi-finalist candidates (39 in total) clearly shows the development and ambition of Fintechs in Mauritania, but also proves that the BCM Fintech Challenge would be promising in the future.
Let us note in the end that BCM is one of the first Central Banks of the region to organize such an event, an initiative that reflects its awareness of the levers and opportunities of the digital transformation of the Mauritanian financial sector, but above all its sponsorship of the fintechs in order to boost their potential for innovation, to the benefit of financial players and Mauritanian customers.
Among the key ideas of the BCM fintechs challenge
RIS is a platform for automating the dematerialization of interbank transfer orders and Public Treasury payment orders. The platform also covers clearing and balancing interbank transactions.
RIMCRED is a startup specialized in financial and digital products for the microfinance sector. It proposed a project on the blockchain for KYC processes with an understanding of the key dimensions that characterize each client.
SMARTGAGE is a Mauritanian startup that aims to introduce innovative technological solutions to secure and boost real estate finance. The proposed platform uses "smart contract" technologies for mortgage management through an inclusive process.
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