Finance

WAEMU: Central bank BCEAO sets up fintech promotion bureau

Monday, 25 April 2022 19:17
WAEMU: Central bank BCEAO sets up fintech promotion bureau

(Ecofin Agency) - A few days ago, the central bank issued the first e-money issuance license to a fintech, Wave notably. With the creation of the support bureau, analysts expect incentive guidelines for fintech startups active in West Africa.

The Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) announced, Friday (April 22), the creation of its fintech bureau. Dubbed BCSF (French acronym for fintech supervision bureau), the department will promote and support the development of startups offering financial services in West Africa. 

BCSF will organize discussions between the central bank and fintech startups, “collect and process information or interview requests” and handle other tasks “ related to technological innovation and financial sector regulation.” 

The bureau is announced a few days after the BCEAO granted an e-money issuance license to fintech startup Wave active in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. The fintech was the first startup and non-bank actor to be granted that license.

Acknowledging fintechs’ now vital role in digital transformation and financial inclusion in the WAEMU region, BCEAO believes it is crucial to support their development.

Currently, the support is just technical with the creation of a discussion platform. However, for some analysts, in the coming months, the central bank will issue new tax guidelines specifically focused on the fintech segment.  

For the BCEAO, fintech active in West Africa mainly develop payment methods for individuals and create digital platforms for e-commerce and the management of financial flows. 

In the first quarter of 2022, they accounted for 42% of the funds raised by startups in the region, according to a recent report by tech accelerator Baobab Network. 

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