Samee Zafar (Director, London) recently spoke with Nadeem Hussain, a pioneer in financial services and technology. He is the founder and ex-CEO of Tameer Bank and EasyPaisa (sold to Telenor), which have impacted millions of Pakistanis by extending credit, insurance and mobile banking solutions to a large segment of the unbanked population. EasyPaisa is one of the most successful mobile financial services initiatives outside Africa. He is the founder and chairman of PlanetN, which aims to connect and catalyze the next wave of technology leadership in developing markets and in particular Pakistan.
1. What are the key drivers for fintech innovation in developing markets?
The key is to develop an enabling environment. Regulators must be in touch with market conditions to develop regulations which are not a hindrance. Secondly, governments must encourage digital transactions as opposed to cash by providing tax incentives. Finally, there must be a collaboration between Fintechs and traditional players such as banks. Banks are long on capital but short on innovation, but it is the other way around for fintech.
2. What can central banks and governments do to help increase financial inclusion?
Central banks must provide the right regulations. The regulations must be from the lens of a digital journey of a customer. Regulators must create sandboxes for pilots so the market can experiment. Governments must lead by example. They can be the largest user of digital payments. Special national plan for start-up Pakistan.
3. What are your 3 top areas of fintech growth in developing markets?
I think AI leveraging big data will have a big impact. Blockchain-based transactions, in my opinion, have more relevant applications in the developing world due to the lack of legacy constraints. Finally, the whole new idea of Metaverse will enable consumers to interact with each other and with institutions to access content relating to higher education and training currently available to only a few.
4. What are your personal goals?
Create an eco-system for young founders to help promote their ideas and serve their needs such as financing and business coaching.
5. What is your favourite book?
Fortune at the bottom of the Pyramid. C.K Prahalad.
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