Last week we were virtually on the ground at the Women in Payments Symposium for the EMEA region – a great opportunity to meet inspiring women that are shaping the future of payments.
The main discussions were around sustainability in payments, financial inclusion, security and fraud prevention and how digital currencies will shape payments in developing markets. Our key takeaways:
Sustainability in payments is a multi-faceted concept and regulators are actively asking companies in the region to pursue it
In Africa, where 50% of the population is still employed in agriculture, M-Pesa is working with regulators not only to provide financial aid to farmers through mobile money, but also to help them choose the actions to maximise the return they have from subsistence agriculture.
Lowering carbon emissions, ensuring protection of customers’ data and helping SMEs through trade financing to improve their sustainability compliance are key factors that will help the payments industry achieve a new standard.
Innovation and regulation need to develop jointly to secure Africa’s digital payments future
Digital products in the continent need to have relevant use cases and initiatives backed by governments in order to bridge the gaps of financial literacy and lack of identification documents.
While the mobile payments infrastructure is already in place, many people in the continent do not have IDs that they can use to open bank accounts or mobile money wallets.
CBDCs and stablecoins have the potential to close the financial inclusion gap in developing countries
However, structural barriers, such as a lack of financial literacy and mobile connectivity in rural areas, would need to be addressed first.
Aspects such as sovereignty of the digital currency supply and the development of interoperable payment systems are challenges that governments will need to tackle before the technology can reach its full potential.