UCC Boss Mutabaazi Raises Red Flag On Consumer Risks In Financial Technology

UCC Boss Mutabaazi Raises Red Flag On Consumer Risks In Financial Technology

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By Andrew Irumba

Kampala: Eng. Godfrey Mutabaazi, the Executive Director of the Uganda Communications Commission(UCC), has warned users about consumer risks from(Financial Technologies) Fintechs.

Mutabaazi sounded the warning on Thursday at Serena Hotel Kampala, where he was a key speaker at the Africa Financial Technology Festival, which is ending today.

Team Airtel led by MD  VG Somasekhar  (C) also participated
Team Airtel led by MD VG Somasekhar (C) also participated

While addressing the gathering at the two-day festival, Mutabazi called for responsible data management systems to protect consumers from risks associated with financial technology.

Mutabaazi interacts with Airtel MD  VG Somasekhar
Mutabaazi interacts with Airtel MD VG Somasekhar

He explained that that “While data fuels the digital economy, it can be abused, something the Commission is mandated to prevent.”

During his presentation on “The shifting role of telecommunications regulators in a world of financial technology”, Mutabazi said that “As technological advancements disrupt existing norms and enhance competencies at an unprecedented rate, such change comes with opportunities for innovation and growth.”

Some  of the Participants listening to Eng. Mutabaazi's address
Some of the Participants listening to Eng. Mutabaazi’s address

He added that “The application of technology in financial services has yielded significant benefits, notably allowing innovative firms to expand their reach, improve their service provision and diversify the range of products and services they can offer.”

Eng. Godfrey Mutabaazi interacts with a participant at the Africa Fintechs Festival
Eng. Godfrey Mutabaazi interacts with a participant at the Africa Fintechs Festival

The UCC boss also noted that “We have seen these gains manifest in Uganda as the nascent Fintech industry has grown, transforming retail, transport and banking.”

Mutabazi revealed that these gains have thankfully trickled down to the
consumer in form of a broader range of relatively affordable financial products and services.

However, Mutabazi noted that UCC has a manadate to ensure that financial technology grows and thrives without doing so at the expense of the consumer.

He had earlier noted that while financial technology and data
analytics, in general, has brought many opportunities, they have also presented many challenges, because juts like any valuable resource, data can also be abused and exploited.

Some of the Key Speakers at the African Fintechs Festival
Some of the Key Speakers at the African Fintechs Festival

He observed that any discussion on data sharing must include issues of data protection, and any conversation around data portability must also address consumer consent and data security.

According to Bank of Uganda, a continuing trend of the rising role of technology-enabled innovations in the provision of financial services was observed during the year 2019.

While delivering his presentation Hennie Bester, the Programme Director at Cape Town-based Insight2Impact, told the audience that “Collaboration between African governments and the private sector is paramount to take advantage of the wide markets while protecting the consumer.

“Overall, there are foreseen potential benefits for the financial sector from technological innovations in the financial space including improved efficiency and financial inclusion. Evidently, the technological innovations are being driven by mobile money
payments technology enabling greater financial access and use, facilitation of remittances, and trade,” the recent Financial Stability report from BoU reads.

 Evelyn Namara with other participants at the festival
Evelyn Namara with other participants at the festival

Talking about the Data Ecosystem Inquiry that the UCC is implementing together with the Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSDU), Mutabazi
said “The recommendations from this study will lay the foundation for UCC’s future interventions in the sector.”

The Data Ecosystem Inquiry that took place in May 2019 brought together
several stakeholders to share information and participate in the discourse on the use of data in Uganda’s digital economy.

“It was brilliant to see firms proactively discussing not just how to remove barriers restricting data, but also how to ensure that data is shared safely and with full consent of consumers,” Mutabazi observed.

The Fintechs Festival, which was organised by Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSDU) and Financial Technology Service Providers Association of
Uganda (FITSPA), aims at cultivating inclusive platforms through which financial technology can thrive as it supports the growth of the digital economy in Africa.

This year’s event attracted several people fro, across the globe who included financial technology actors, regulators, policymakers, bankers and other stakeholders.

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