3 Kenyan fintech startups picked for CMA regulatory sandbox

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Three Kenyan fintech startups have been selected to take part in the regulatory sandbox run by the country’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA), giving them the chance to further test their solutions and obtain relevant licenses.

The CMA’s regulatory sandbox policy was approved in March, and since then it has been receiving applications from fintech firms interested in taking part.

Now, three fintech startups have been admitted to live test innovative solutions with the capacity to deepen and enhance the efficiency of capital markets. The include Innova, which will test its cloud-based data analytics platform designed for use by investors, fund managers, banks, actuaries, pension administrators and regulators, and Pezesha, which has been approved to test an internet-based crowdfunding platform through which investors can provide loan facilities to SMEs.

The third fintech firm admitted has elected to remain anonymous during its three-month test period except to its closed group of test subjects.

“We are excited about this approval, as it brings endless possibilities as well as cements trust and credibility in our business by shortening our time to market and allowing us to achieve our mission of financial inclusion at a larger scale, while addressing any legal and regulatory requirements,” said Hilda Moraa, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Pezesha. 

“More so, opening up the market for retail lenders, DFIs, angels and impact investors to provide working capital to quality and creditworthy small businesses, as their growth and opportunities are continuously choked due to the lack of affordable and accessible long term financing.”

CMA chief executive Paul Muthaura said Innova and Pezesha will be updating the authority on milestones achieved, challenges faced and mitigation measures implemented in line with the test plans submitted during the application process.

“The regulatory sandbox allows live testing of innovations under a less onerous regulatory regime and is expected to attract fintech companies and existing capital markets licensees to test the application of technology to financial services. The admission of the three firms is an important milestone noting that the authority had set itself a target to admit five firms to the regulatory sandbox by 2023,” he said.

Upon exit from the sandbox, participants could be granted a license or approval to operate in Kenya subject to compliance with existing legal and regulatory requirements. 

“Where there is need for a broader legal or regulatory reform, we may adopt new regulations, guidelines or notices pursuant to Section 12 and 12A of the Capital Markets Act, based on insights gained from the regulatory sandbox test,” Muthaura said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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