The finance ministry’s Non-Bank Financial Services Authority (NBFSA) is driving the advancement of financial technology (fintech) in the nonbank sector, aiming to bolster the growth of a dynamic digital economy and society.

The initiative was highlighted during an October 23 workshop that focused on planning fintech’s role within the sector, underpinning the government’s ‘Pentagonal Strategy’ – Cambodia’s five-point framework to propel the country to higher-middle-income status by 2030 and high-income by 2050.

Sau Sophea, director of the NBFSA’s FinTech Centre, emphasised that in today’s era of globalisation and regionalisation, technology is driving digital transformation across the entire economic spectrum. He stated that fintech, in particular, has emerged as a key growth catalyst for the digital economy and the well-being of advanced societies.

“The 2023-28 Financial Technology Development Policy integrates the banking and non-bank sectors to cultivate fintech ecosystems, aiming to foster a dynamic digital economy and society,” he noted.

Mey Van, secretary-general of both the Ministry of Economy and Finance and of the NBFSA, highlighted the recent success of the sector, especially during and post-pandemic, thanks to government backing.

“The government made a timely and proactive response, adopting community vaccination strategies and key policies in support of socio-economic recovery and development,” he said.

He further noted that despite challenges from the real estate sector and external pressures like the Russian-Ukraine conflict and inflation, the sector has been instrumental in driving national economic growth, with fintech playing a pivotal role in this success.

Satoru Yamadera, an adviser at the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, underscored the workshop’s significance in enhancing fintech understanding to support Cambodia’s growth ambitions.

“Technology is vital for economic development, but it should be viewed more as a tool to reach our goals rather than a solution in itself,” he said.

Van noted that fintech in Cambodia, particularly within the non-bank sector, is in its early growth stages, akin to a “young sapling requiring nurturing”.

While Cambodia’s fintech progress is on par with its regional counterparts, he says there is potential yet to be fully tapped. With government backing, he believes that it can significantly boost the Kingdom’s ambition for a dynamic digital economy and society.