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“We want to reduce poverty and increase level of financial inclusion”

-Deputy Bank Governor

June 19, 2017 By Regina Pratt

governor

Dr. Ibrahim L. Stevens

Deputy Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone has spoken of the bank’s determination to reduce poverty and increase the level of financial inclusion in the country by putting in place the right mechanisms.

Dr. Ibrahim L. Stevens was speaking last Thursday (June 15, 2017), during the official launch of the Sierra Leone’s Fin Tech Challenge 2017 at the Bank of Sierra Leone Complex, Kingtom in Freetown.

The country’s Fin Tech Challenge 2017 is an initiative by BSL in partnership with Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa) and United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

As the controller of the country’s financial sector, Dr. Stevens stated that the bank’s public duty was to protect the consumer and support innovations, while working with partners to form innovation.

“We have no intension of stopping innovations but we support it so that young people will have the potential of becoming our next billionaires by participating in the Fin Tech Challenge 2017 project,” he said.

According to him, Sierra Leone’s Fin tech Challenge 2017 would be a unique program that would  encourage and catalyze the development of Fin Tech solutions that are useful and highly relevant to people and businesses in the country.

While describing the program as a major milestone in the country’s financial sector, the Deputy Bank Governor said it would be a big success for the country in the area of financial inclusion and improving the sector for the better.

Representative of Fin Tech Challenge 2017 Association, Sulton Masallay, noted that the financial industry and practice has  changed  largely due to the use of computerization.

He stressed the need for improved banking financial services as according to him, the provision for every economical service in the world, was meant for the upper class.

He said the aim of Fin Tech Challenge 2017 was to foster collaboration between regulators, non-traditional market players, licensed financial institutions and other partners to pilot innovative products, services or solutions in a fragile state context.

“The deadline for the Fin tech Challenge 2017 award for the three finalists in the BSL Sandbox Framework would be July 15, 2017.  The plan timetable for the FinTech Challenge 2017 edition will be June to October 2017, subject to the investment process of FSD Africa and UNCDF,” he said.

Representative from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Gamma Robert, said there was increase in the financial technology, shaping from cash to digital payment.

He added that there was extension of innovations, as well as passion for business in Sierra Leone.

Also speaking was the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Sunil Saigal, who expressed UN’s delight in partnering with the Bank of Sierra Leone to improve the financial sector and commended the bank for the initiative.