Africa Joins the Regulatory Sandbox Trend

There is a rising interest in regulatory sandboxes for fintech products, services and solutions to be deployed and tested in a live environment while receiving personal support from regulators before entering the market. Selected startups are able to test their product, service or solution without needing prior authorization processes, enforcement action letters or waivers of certain regulatory requirements. A fintech sandbox will also help regulators better understand emerging technologies that could advance financial inclusion based on stable approaches that are backed up by evidence. The first regulatory sandbox was introduced in the UK in 2015 to control competition in the market and ensure consumer protection. From the initial launch, 40% of the businesses that were chosen for the sandbox testing received funding. In Africa, Kenya and Sierra Leone were the first countries to launch regulatory sandbox testing. The South African Reserve Bank also recently announced a program to review emerging technologies and safely take more convenient fintech to market while lowering operational costs without losing the integrity of consumer protection. Other countries running regulatory sandboxes include the US, Canada, Russia, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia and Hong Kong to name a few.