CAFT links with MPTC to bolster FinTech at 2022 AGM

Brian Badzmierowski

Cambodia Association of Finance Technology (CAFT) is ready to take the next step in its evolution as the standard-bearer of all things FinTech signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication (MPTC) during the associations AGM.

This year’s well attended event was hosted at Cambodia’s National SOSORO Museum with attendees receiving a personal tour from Co-Director Blaise Kilian.

The SOSORO Museum was launched in 2019 and offers unique perspective on Cambodia’s history and offers a sharper grasp on the constant interaction between money, the economy and politics.

Tomas Pokorny, the Secretary-General of CAFT, said he was relieved the Annual General Meeting and MoU signing could be held at an outdoor setting after two years of remote events, something that wasn’t guaranteed until recently due to COVID.

CAFT Board Chairman Remi Pell kicked off the annual meeting by saying CAFT was focused on expanding the tech talent pool in the country, providing more education, helping SMEs digitalize, and promoting financial literacy.

VIP guests welcomed to the CAFT AGM and MOU signing held at SOSORO Museum.

He added that CAFT had teamed up with the Kirirom Institute of Technology to create a FinTech-focused curriculum to help more students get involved in the industry early.

He said as the FinTech sector grows, ethical considerations would continue to be of the utmost importance. Pell said he had participated in the adoption of the country’s first industry-led code of conduct earlier in the day, which would help maintain ethics in the industry once implemented.

“As institutions slowly but surely begin to adopt these technologies, it should be assumed that there are ethical considerations in place. The users of these technologies need to be assured that the companies are handling the data ethically and in the interest of the users. Therefore, CAFT believes the implementation of this code fosters a spirit of trust which helps to bolster the adoption of technology,” he said.

FinTech industry needs private and public sector co-operation

National Bank of Cambodia Director General Chea Serey spoke next, saying the digital economy was booming in Cambodia and that the social distancing brought about by COVID had allowed certain contactless and remote services to blossom.

She said building ICT infrastructure would be crucial to helping the industry grow and that FinTech had the ability to improve social wellbeing by offering remote services.

“Fintech is believed to provide convenient and affordable access to finance that could improve financial inclusion and provide social-economic benefits to SMEs and people who have no access to financial services,” she told the crowd.

She said the NBC has been updating its infrastructure and regulatory framework to improve interoperability between payment systems, cybersecurity, and consumer protection.

Serey added that the MoU between CAFT and the MPTC was an important step in building synergy between the private and public sectors to promote a diverse digital economy in Cambodia.

Minister of Posts and Telecommunication Chea Vandeth addressed the crowd and said the MPTC would cooperate with CAFT to tackle important Technology and Finance issues together.

He said last year, the government adopted the Digital Economy and Social Policy Framework of Cambodia 2021-2035, which had the long-term vision of building a vibrant digital economy by promoting digital adoption.

Event host DJ Nana and Secretary General of CAFT Tomas Pokorny.

This year, he said the Cambodian Digital Government Policy 2022-2035 provided a roadmap to better meet the needs of citizens through technology. He said the key objectives of the roadmap were capacity building for officials, building national data centers, and promoting transparency in public services.

“CAFT shares this vision by cultivating interest and tech skills, especially in the digital field to promote innovation, organize an inclusive community of startups and build relationships among member organizations to further enhance goals of the technology and finance industry,” he said.

Vandeth said the government will continue to encourage more partnerships to help digitize Cambodia’s economy and society.

“The collaboration between MPTC and CAFT is a good example of the government and private sectors coming together towards one goal. And that is to help promote tech startups, entrepreneurship, commerce, marketing, and capacity building,” he said.

The future for CAFT in 2022 and beyond

In closing out the annual meeting, Pokorny announced new partnerships with the International Business Chamber of Cambodia (IBC) and 500 Global, a Singapore-based venture capital firm.

After the official signing ceremony guests were able to network at the event.

IBC Executive Chairperson Paul Clements said he was interested in teaming up with CAFT to share resources, and improve knowledge within the industry as a whole.

“We’re keen to engage in CAFT as you are effectively the leaders of the industry and the experts,” he said.

Carrie Liauw, the regional director for startup programs in Asia and the Pacific, said she was excited to collaborate with CAFT to bring capital, resources, and a wide network to the tech startup ecosystem in Cambodia.

After helping build the CAFT brand for two years during the midst of the pandemic, Pokorny said the association’s flagship CAMTECH Summit will be held in person this year, with the hope of putting Cambodia on the map as a FinTech powerhouse.

One of the most promising plans outlined by Pokorny was the creation of a FinTech ASEAN roundtable which would bring together ASEAN states for collaborative meetings on how to best push the sector forward from a regional standpoint.

“We’re finally starting to show, through our efforts ad efforts of many others, that Cambodia is ready to communicate with the rest of the world when it comes to technology, and when it comes to financing,” Pokorny said.

Prudential Cambodia announces a continuation of their strategic partnership with CAFT

One of the associations leading members Prudential Life Insurance (Cambodia) most recently hosted the CamTech 2021 Summit Powered by Prudential and has been leading the way in digital transformation.

The company has has earmarked a pivot towards digital insurance, green financing transition, and creating more inclusive insurance offers and distribution channels in the rapidly developing industry.  

Sanjay Chakrabarty Chief Executive Officer of Prudential Life Insurance (Cambodia) attended the AGM and has previously highlighting the strong commitment the company has to the development of Cambodia’s finance and technology sector.

Speaking to Cambodia Investment Review Sanjay said: “Prudential Cambodia is pioneering digital health and insurance in Cambodia. Our efforts are aided by a thriving Fintech sector. CAFT has been doing an incredible job developing the Fintech sector in Cambodia.”

“We’re now in our third year of this strategic partnership and we’re looking forward to furthering capacity building and knowledge sharing in Cambodia,” he added.

Sanjay Chakrabarty Chief Executive Officer of Prudential Life Insurance (Cambodia) talks with Tina Redshaw the British Ambassador to Cambodia.

The company is already applying technologies such as AI and machine learning across the entire customer journey – from sales to service – to enhance efficiencies and to bring greater convenience to customer.

For example, in some markets, Prudential is now e-underwriting for selected products. This means Customers no longer have to wait days to know if they are insurable. With technology, the underwriting decisions can be made in hours.

Diversifying its products in Cambodia the company is now offering, through its Pulse product, buy bite-sized insurance products. These products start at less than $10 per year, are simple to understand and purchase, and most importantly have a simple claims process.

According to the company it plans to launch of more such digital and affordable products on the Pulse application.

Cambodia is considered one of the countries that has the most insurance growth potential with market penetration below 1% compared to GDP.

To find out more information on Prudential (Cambodia) products and offers click here.

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