Financial technology, or “fintech”, in Cambodia has until now been largely limited to facilitating electronic money transfers, though experts speaking at a forum in Phnom Penh yesterday said the country has huge potential to develop and adopt digital platforms to deliver a wider array of financial services.
The Fintech Awareness Forum, co-organised by the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI), gathered experts and fintech startups to share their experiences of the challenges and opportunities in the sector.
Addressing the forum, NBC Director General Chea Serey said that developing fintech would help promote financial inclusion in Cambodia because it would provide access to more financial products and services for unbanked people or people living in rural locations.
While fintech is already available in Cambodia, mainly to provide money transfers, Serey said the country should launch other services such as online platforms for loan seekers or online software to deliver accounting services for small business owners.
“We will support fintech startups that facilitate the delivery of financial services at a faster speed and cheaper price to customers,” she said. Serey added that digital financial platforms would be more efficient and accountable.
“Digital platforms are important to promote financial inclusion and help strengthen transparency in the Cambodian financial system and economy,” she said.
Tom Moyes, director of MBI, said that there are good reasons to believe Cambodia will soon start to develop more financial technology because it will help spur economic growth and improve business efficiencies.
He said Cambodia, which has a population of 16 million with more than half of the country under the age of 25, is showing high adoption rates of technology.
He added that research shows the country has 7.16 million internet users and 27 million mobile subscriptions, making it a ripe market for fintech ventures.
“Cambodia has good technology available such as 3G, 4G and pretty good cell phone coverage,” Moyes said.
“So, if we can figure out how to bring new business models to Cambodia it is going to be a big help for solving the problem of financial inclusion.”