The annual CamTech Summit successfully concluded on November 30, 2023, held with the aim of exploring and shaping the future of finance and technology in Cambodia. Inaugurated by H.E. Dr. Chea Serey, Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), CamTech 2023 brought together prominent industry leaders, policymakers, and innovators from the Kingdom and across the region.
The summit was held at the Centre for Banking Studies in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district, organised by the Cambodian Association of Finance and Technology (CAFT) and NBC.
In her opening speech, Dr. Serey underscored the significance of collaboration between finance and technology, stating that “The CamTech Summit provides a unique platform for policymakers, regulators, businesses, and tech players from various sectors to discuss recent technological advancements in Cambodia and globally.”
She added that the summit highlights the opportunities and challenges presented by technological advancement and their growing importance in shaping the Cambodian economy in the digital era, especially in the context of post-pandemic recovery.
Remi Pell, Chairman of CAFT, explained that the summit was envisioned as a means of bringing together global finance and technology players to interact, collaborate, and forge partnerships with the local market.
“The CamTech Summit serves as a platform that embodies the principles of collaboration, advocacy, facilitation, and education, which are the core values of CAFT,” said Pell.
“We’re bringing together industry and ecosystem players locally, regionally, and globally. Companies like Huawei, MasterCard, Visa, and Liquid Pay are coming from overseas to join us, as well as interacting with the local ecosystem that we have here in Cambodia,” he added.
Key Fintech Initiators In Cambodia’s Financial Sector
ABA Bank, gold sponsor of the CamTech Summit 2023, drew attention to the strategic use of technology in financial services during the summit.
During the summit’s main press conference, Zokhir Rasulov, Chief Digital Officer of ABA Bank, stated that ABA is the leading bank introducing advanced digital technologies to the Cambodian market, further emphasising that all the bank’s developments have been made in Cambodia by Cambodian staff.
“All the developments we undertake are primarily driven by industry demands, with a customer-centric approach,” explained Rasulov. “Additionally, we prioritise cybersecurity in all our developments.”
He mentioned that ABA Bank has invested USD $10 million over the last two years to enhance cybersecurity and better protect customers.
“As the bank serves one of the largest customer bases in Cambodia, now exceeding 3 million people, it’s crucial for us to maintain system performance,” said Rasulov.
Key Highlights From The CamTech Summit 2023
- Innovative Solutions Showcase: Attendees had the chance to witness the latest advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), finance, and technology through various exhibitions at the summit.
- Thought-Provoking Content: Renowned industry leaders from both local and regional contexts engaged in insightful discussions, exploring the current landscape and future trends at the intersection of finance and technology.
- Interactive Workshops: Participants actively participated in workshops that provided practical insights into how collaboration between AI, finance, and technology can drive meaningful change in their lives.
Angela Lim, Executive Vice President for Product Development at Liquid Group in Singapore, delivered a presentation on ‘QR payment: linking e-commerce and trust in digital finance’, during the Camtech seminar.
In her conversation with B2B Cambodia, she mentioned that she had not visited Cambodia in six years and expressed her amazement at the country’s digital transformation, citing the Bakong QR Code as an example. She noted its similarity to the initial stages of Singapore’s PayNow QR.
Similar to Bakong (KHQR) in Cambodia, ‘SGQR+’ was launched in Singapore in 2023. It is designed to facilitate cross-border wallet interoperability, enabling payments within Singapore and allowing Singaporean wallets to be used overseas
Besides participating in the Camtech Summit 2023, she also aims to build partnerships with Cambodian banks, such as ABA Bank and Acleda.
“We’re looking to see if we are able to forge some form of partnership where we are able to tie up and be able to offer QR solution payments as well for Bakong QR to be able to expand overseas and likewise for overseas travellers coming to Cambodia,” she said.
Tomas Pokorny, a Board Director of CAFT, emphasised the significance of these offerings, stating, “Through the key offerings of CamTech Summit, we aim to initiate conversations on the challenges of adopting digital financial services in Cambodia.
One area that needs more attention, he said, is business-to-business (B2B) partnerships. He stated that it is no longer about each player working independently; instead, there is a need for more collaborative efforts. He cited the example of the NBC’s ‘Bakong’ QR Code system, where all banks are coming together to foster partnerships.
He stressed that Cambodia is still driven by an informal economy so it is important to focus on inclusiveness in areas such as informal commerce, unregistered business communication, and transactions with registered businesses.
“This hasn’t been adequately addressed until recently,” said Pokorny. “With inclusiveness, there is a need to foster financial literacy and awareness of the available market offerings.”
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