FINTECH AND FINANCIAL INCLUSION IN THE ERA OF THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
By Sebastian J. Olivera ,Spain
Country Manager Spain – TaxScouts , Co-founder Women in FinTech – Interamerican Network and Founder Montevideo FinTech Forum.
The 21st century poses a constant disruption. The new behavioral schemes based on collaboration, co-creation and competition, together with the dizzying technological advance and the economic models that explain our reality (from scarcity); are being impacted by the concept of uniqueness (and wealth management).
Economies based on the primary sector face increasing challenges when it comes to inserting themselves efficiently in a world where the new asset is knowledge and efforts are focused on capturing, developing, and distributing “value”.
Likewise, the economic, health and social crisis generated by COVID-19 has forcefully accelerated digitization processes, emphasizing three key variables:
- The ability to get around the physical aspect of the services (the virtualization derived from the lock down),
- The mass adoption of digital services, a product of necessity (it is no longer an option) and,
- The new value equation and the new ways of producing, distributing, and consuming that value.
In this international context, does Latin America have the talent and the will to generate and deliver value in a sustained manner over time, favorably impacting our communities? Are countries prepared to adapt to the changes that financial services are undergoing?
The answer is yes, the success achieved will depend exclusively on the skills obtained, talent, effort, and ability to work as a team. Despite the shortage of material resources and infrastructure, the region has a great wealth of scientific and entrepreneurial talent.
In this sense, social integration plays a preponderant role as a factor of sustainable development (economic and social) in the region. It is unimaginable to speak of sustainability and efficiency without considering technological developments and their impact on variables such as social inclusion, the provision of financial services and the value of FinTech’s. Technology seems to be the way of integrating the 52% of adult population in Latam, left behind, and with no access to decent financial services, making social mobility impossible, as a result of the consequences of bad financial alternatives and their consequences.
What do we understand by “sustainable development” and “social integration”?
“Sustainable development” is the ability to generate and deliver value in a sustained manner over time. Understanding as “value”: the equation that maximizes: the use of time, the management of experiences and the transactional profitability of individuals and society as a whole.
Likewise, “social integration” is the consequence of a series of systematized processes and efforts that a community carries out, in order to provide its members with the maximum degree of access to a standard level of well-being.
“In this system, financial inclusion deals with operating favorably on the possibility that individuals and organizations have to access quality financial services, in a plural, efficient and profitable way.”
Therefore we must establish a differentiation between “Banking”, understood as the fact of having an operating account in a financial institution; and “Financial Inclusion” in which the consumer is an empowered, educated and conscious user, who participates in the financial system through the full and frequent use of transactional accounts. This categorization refers to the operational means through which, excluded people, can access the formal financial system using digital developments.
These transactional accounts can be conceived as: a bank account, a virtual wallet, a credit card, or a similar electronic instrument. Having a transactional account enables excluded people to access financial services such as savings, payments, credit, and insurance.
Access and appropriate use of financial services can help people to better manage risk, change their condition and access a better quality of life. Financial inclusion occurs when there is a multilateral transfer of value, between providers and users of financial services. Within this scheme, FinTech’s play a leading role in generating and distributing value, invigorating the traditional financial system, and enhancing and innovating the existing service offer.
In the absence of quality regulatory agents and consistent regulatory frameworks, none of these processes is possible since these agents have a dual role: “guarantors and promoters of innovation”.
We are witnessing the fourth stage of the industrial revolution, the scientific advances achieved in the last 100 years and the possibilities and challenges that these entail place us in a position of privilege, but also of commitment. Technology has impacted our routine, in all areas of people’s lives and has had a great impact on the demand for labor in specific sectors. In this new production scenario, the focus is on value creation, with education being the basic pillar of sustainability, skill development and knowledge generation.
As Alvin Toffler’s “Shock of the Future” is exposed in the work: “The illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who do not know how to read and write, but those who do not know how to learn, unlearn and relearn”.
For those who remains adamant, adapting is not anymore, an option.
The world is betting on inclusion through the digitization of financial services, via the use of ICT. Over the uncertainty of our situation and the promises that these technological developments generate, the focus is on facilitating, guaranteeing and ensuring liquidity in small companies (basic pillar of the economy); as well as the access of people who are not part of the financial system today, enabling the possibility that they integrate into the community in a fair and plural way, using more efficient, reliable, modern and less expensive financial instruments. While promoting a regulation that incorporates the best business practices, which favor the development of the sector (strengthening the financial system).
As for those who are already part of the system, the revaluation and expansion of the existing offer of financial services is necessary, as well as the generation of new services that contemplate modern trends and needs. In this way, the increase in well-being and social inclusion will be favored through an equitable distribution of value among organizations, government, and population; by using “technology at the service of mankind”.
“Inclusion, just a click away.”
- Universal Financial Inclusion in the Era of Fintech and COVID19 - August 26, 2020
- FINTECH AND FINANCIAL INCLUSION IN THE ERA OF THE DIGITAL ECONOMY - July 27, 2020