MUSCAT: The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) has drafted a comprehensive strategy to support the development of a thriving ecosystem around financial technology (fintech) based products and services – one of the fastest-growing financial services sectors in the Sultanate of Oman and globally as well.

The ‘Fintech Framework and Roadmap’, according to the apex bank, envisions the growth of a “dynamic digital financial ecosystem” that fosters tech-based innovation to drive competition and diversification in the banking and financial services industry in Oman.

“Its ultimate goal is to facilitate new enablers and related regulatory frameworks to address the market needs and developments, in addition, to supporting the drivers underpinning emerging technological innovation and developments to the local financial sector in order to deliver creative banking and financial services,” the Central Bank stated in its 2022 Annual Report issued here last week.

CBO Executive President Tahir bin Salim al Amri said the development of the Oman Fintech Ecosystem has been “prioritised” with suitable steps taken to promote “vibrant, inclusive, safe and efficient digital financial products and services” in the Sultanate of Oman.

“The CBO has prioritised investments in data management, aiming to effectively leverage the full potential of data. These concerted efforts will significantly contribute to fostering fintech-enabled financial inclusion and enhancing the efficiency of various payment systems,” Al Amri stated in a foreword featured in the report.

Boding well for the growth of a strong fintech ecosystem in Oman are multiple enabling factors: a healthy and resilient banking sector, political stability, robust payment platforms and infrastructure, and a higher percentage of youth in the Oman population, it said.

In addition to the adoption of dynamic laws and regulations, the Oman Fintech Ecosystem also aims to develop a national cadre of skilled and innovation-driven individuals. It also seeks to support collaboration between academia and the fintech sector. An additional long-term goal is to enhance the investment appeal of the fintech industry in Oman, the CBO report noted.

Fully aligned with Oman’s Vision 2040, the proposed fintech ecosystem has the potential to support fiscal sustainability and economic diversification in Oman, notably by aiding the growth of SMEs and fuelling innovation-based entrepreneurship, the report pointed out.

“In line with this vision, the primary objective of the CBO is to work toward establishing a comprehensive and nurturing Fintech Ecosystem in Oman to enable fintech startups, SMEs, banks, and technology firms to develop innovative solutions, which will eventually contribute to the county’s economic growth, create new job opportunities and attract venture capital investment to the country,” it said.

Already a number of initiatives are in various stages of development and implementation to help foster the growth of a fintech ecosystem in the country, according to the Central Bank. They aim to deliver the following objectives: Fintech Regulation, Fintech Regulatory Sandbox, Fintech Innovation Hub, Cloud Computing Framework for the banking and financial sector, National e-KYC and Customer Digital onboarding, Open Banking API Strategy, Fintech Professional Educational Program, Aligning Fintech Strategy between CBO and Capital Market Authority, Fintech & Banking Zone at Comex Technology Exhibition, and Sponsoring Fintech Competitions and Hackathons.

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