May 5, 2019
Suva, Fiji – Thirteen teams from financial technology firms (FinTechs) from across the Pacific and the ASEAN region will head to Malaysia next week to compete in the first Pacific – ASEAN Financial Innovation Challenge.
Over 120 submissions were received, of which close to 70 applications made it through to the long list and a final 13 FinTechs were selected by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) to participate in a bootcamp in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The bootcamp is an intensive three-day hands on workshop with financial services experts from PFIP and its financial service provider partner organizations. During the three days the participants will be introduced to the Pacific financial services market and the many challenges faced in reaching the unbanked and they will work with the partner organizations to validate their business ideas, build product prototypes and do first-level testing of their solutions for specific challenges faced by PFIP’s partners.
While the majority of teams shortlisted are from Malaysia and Singapore, five teams from the Pacific have made it into the finals. Two teams are from Australia, one team from New Zealand, one from Papua New Guinea and one from Fiji.
One of the main objectives of the Financial Innovation Challenge is to connect FinTechs from ASEAN and Pacific countries with financial service providers from the Pacific that want to innovate and thereby creating a network of digital innovators connecting both regions.
The challenge calls for the creation of better, cheaper and safer financial services for Pacific Islanders and features Vodafone Fiji, FijiCare Insurance, Kina Bank and the National Bank of Vanuatu.
PFIP Programme Manager Bram Peters said there were many interesting solutions pitched for the four pacific companies that could ultimately be a game changer for financial inclusion in the Pacific. He said he was also really pleased to see solid applications from women-led Fintech teams.
PFIP is also sponsoring two students from the University of the South Pacific and two students from Unitech (PNG) to help build and nurture a developing fintech industry in the Pacific.
Winning Fintechs will work with PFIP and their implementing partners in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu to enhance and adapt their design and further test their solutions in the respective markets.
The challenge has received support from the UN Capital Development Fund – FinLab Malaysia, MetLife Foundation, InnovationXchange – Department of Foreign Affairs, Singapore Fintech Association, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation and the University of the South Pacific.
For more information on the challenge: https://bit.ly/2DZoRxY
PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme that has helped over two million Pacific islanders gain access to financial services and financial education. It achieves these results by funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, supports policy and regulatory initiatives, and the empowerment of consumers.
It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government. PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands.
For more information or media inquiries please contact:
Erica Lee – Communications Associate