We're so close to the end of our fintech football series! Today we'll be looking at Group G; Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, and Cameroon. Let's go!
Brazil, the only country that holds the record of winning the World Cup five times, will it win this fintech round? It does have a pretty good chance! It comes on top of the fintech ladder among Latin America’s (LatAm) countries. While regulations seem like a big hurdle for many fintechs around the world, it’s not the case in Brazil. You can even say that regulations are as flexible as a goddamn acrobat! The space for innovation is like no other and the people are loving it, with about 75 million Brazilians now part of the banking system.
One aspect of why fintech is so successful in Brazil is due to the unbundling of banking finance. Fintech is for all, but creating a fintech is not a one-size fit all! Each segment needs a different shade of regulation to grow. That’s why the government created three regulatory frameworks for different payment institutions; post-paid instrument issuers, electronic money issuers, and payment acquirers. It’s clear that Brazil is hungry for fintech innovation and it’s not stopping anytime soon!
I like to refer to Switzerland as “heaven on Earth”, mainly because it’s not easily accessible with an Egyptian passport! However, it seems to be an actual heaven on Earth for the fintech people! It has a diverse portfolio of fintech businesses from payments to investment and asset management services, exchange services, crowdfunding and crowdlending, and insurtech! So, it’s pretty obvious that people are loving the fintech scene as much as the country’s sceneries! The country is also big on crypto as the Swiss Stock Exchange launched a separate fully regulated digital platform SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) for digital assets trade.
When we think of tech-savvy countries, we think of the US, UK, South Korea, or Japan to name a few. However, Serbia should also have a place in that category. This small country of 7 million people is proving that it deserves a seat at the fintech table.
The country has become a favourite for cryptonians and blockchain-based product development. The Serbian government launched a blockchain support initiative which popularized it. Then in 2021, crypto trading became legal in addition to obliging crypto service providers to obtain a license. 2021 was a good year for Serbia’s fintech with the Ethereum Blockchain development platform raising $58.6 million in venture funding, Tempus Finance raising $27.9 million, and UNQ Club, an NFT asset management platform, raising $3 million in venture funding.
When it comes to talent, Serbia has more than enough. With IT courses and programming classes being mandatory for kids over 11 years old and about 3,000 engineering graduates every year, Serbia knows that tech is the future. That’s not all, to encourage innovation, the government has great tax incentives offering ZERO income taxes for the first three years of founding a business. The country’s regulatory sandbox is not the only field for fintech experimentation, but the Faculty of Economics at the University of Belgrade has opened its own incubator to allow for more tech innovation.
Cameroon was one of the countries that were hit hard by the pandemic. However, it also led people to get into tech. Fintech specifically owns the largest share of 34% of the Cameroonian tech ecosystem. As of 2021, over 9 million people were using mobile internet services. On a global scale, it’s not much and that’s mainly due to digital illiteracy. Due to the high level of immigration from Cameroon, remittance is one of the pillars of Cameroon’s economy and that is also the target of fintechs.
One of these fintechs is WorldRemit. It provides a fast and secure international money transfer, so no more of that 3-5 business days! So far in 2022, a total of about GBP 75 million was sent to Cameroon. Another fintech making waves is Ejara which has recently raised $8 million in Series A investment. Ejara is an investment app that allows users to buy crypto and save through decentralized wallets.