CBE-hosted FinTech Innovation sprint launched to address COVID-19 challenges

Hossam Mounir
4 Min Read

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has collaborated with the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) to launch an innovation sprint to address the challenges caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

It comes as part of Egypt’s financial technology (FinTech) and innovation strategy that aims to achieve the state’s goals in using technology, as well as promoting innovation and financial inclusion.

The sprint also aims to unearth, develop, and refine FinTech solutions that directly address the pandemic in Egypt. The sprint targets entrepreneurs and startup owners who develop these forms of solutions that may support Egypt’s banking sector and financial institutions to surmount the repercussions of the pandemic.

The three-day innovation sprint will take place in March 2021, with startups having had the opportunity to submit their applications to join the sprint during the period from 19 January to 19 February 2021. They could do so through the CBE’s Fintech Egypt portal https://fintech-egypt.com/C19Innovation/. 

Applications will be assessed to select the sprint participants, based on their ability to provide effective solutions to the difficulties and challenges facing Egypt’s banks and financial institutions due to the pandemic. The CBE, in collaboration with a number of banks, has summed up and published those challenges on the FinTech Egypt platform, and other affiliated websites and platforms.

Rami Aboul Naga, Deputy Governor at the CBE said, “The initiative is in line with the objectives of the CBE and the financial technology strategy that were announced in 2019 as part of Egypt’s efforts to transform into a FinTech regional hub in Africa and the Middle East.” 

He added, “This initiative represents a promising opportunity for entrepreneurs and startups to develop innovative and technological solutions for banks and financial institutions to facilitate delivering the services to customers.”

The CBE will host the selection process of entrepreneurs and startups with creative and applicable ideas, according to precise and specific criteria. Subsequently, virtual workshops and seminars will be held to bring them together with banks’ and financial institutions’ representatives, with the aim of developing deployable prototypes.

The innovation sprint is supported and managed by the Financial Sector Development (FSD) Africa, in partnership with the Digital Financial Service (DFS) Innovation Lab. It aims to strengthen international cooperation in the field of FinTech and innovation, which can play a transformational role in tackling the unprecedented challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

FSD Africa is a specialist development agency working to reduce poverty by strengthening financial markets across Africa.

Based in Nairobi, FSD Africa’s team of financial sector experts work alongside governments, business leaders, regulators and policy makers to design and build ambitious programmes. These aim to make financial markets work better for everyone.

Established in 2012, FSD Africa is incorporated as a non-profit company limited by guarantee in Kenya. It is funded by aid from the UK government

The DFS Lab is an early-stage investor that helps founders build solid foundations and matches the world’s smartest capital with Africa’s most promising founders leading the next generation of digital commerce in Africa. 

It brings both global and local mentorship to its flagship accelerator programme. Its portfolio companies have gone on to raise capital from firms like Accel, Anthemis, 500 Startups, Y Combinator, Flourish Ventures, NYCA, and Accion Venture Labs.

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