Global innovation consultancy Beta-I have joined the Angola National Bank (BNA) to create their first Regulatory Sandbox, allowing fintech startups to test their products and services in a real market environment as well as receive guidance on regulation and legislation.
The project stems from the Laboratório de Inovação do Sistema de Pagamentos Angolano (LISPA), an acceleration and incubation program aiming to change the scenario in which about 70% of the adult Angolan population does not have access to banking services on a daily basis.
In order to establish an increasingly participative structure in the financial sector, BNA and the two entities of the entrepreneurial sector have decided to take the LISPA program one step further by creating the experimental regulatory environment for fintech, open to any entity established in Angola
The sandbox is set to open four batches, each composed of 10 selected projects. These projects will then take part in eight months of regular development sessions with two main goals: guidance on regulation and acquisition of licenses, as well as mentorship, to build and refine a defined market growth strategy that boosts financial and social inclusion.
Pedro Castro e Silva, administrator at BNA, said “We have concluded that we were getting behind other African countries in terms of fintech innovation. We’ve then defined two clear objectives: to increase financial inclusion through technology and to create jobs, making room for innovators to establish themselves in the market. In order to do so, we understood that it was also necessary to promote open and transparent communication between the regulator and the new players, to guarantee safer solutions to the consumers. Through tests and controlled environments, the Sandbox comes as an opportunity for new projects to adapt themselves to the current legislation and evaluate the need for changes in the regulation, if applied.”
As well as the new sandbox, LISPA is also composed by Incubadora Fintech, a project that is supporting 20 Angolan startups in a mentorship scheme to adapt their operations and matchmake them with investors.
Eduardo Sette Camara, head of acceleration at Beta-i and responsible for the design and implementation of LISPA’s initiatives, said “this lab is an essential initiative for the ecosystem and has been structured to allow continued support to the startups, both in terms of business and regulation. During the 10 months of incubation, startups have access to Beta-i’s teams and mentors for technical guidance, which reduces eventual misfits between business development and legal framework. The Sandbox completes this strategy, creating something truly effective and structured, in contrast to other initiatives that don’t have continuity built-in.”