Access to big data has provided an opportunity to use technology to develop solutions that will address issues of information asymmetry that make it difficult for financial institutions to appraise loan applications, particularly from the MSMEs.
The CFI is collaborating with the Central Bank of Eswatini, the FSRA, the Eswatini Communications Authority and FinMark Trust to conduct a the first Eswatini Data Hackathon 2019.
The Hackathon aimed to catalyse the design of innovative and data-driven technological solutions that promote use and access to financial services, targeted at the base of the economic pyramid, rural populations and MSMEs. The event targeted youth with an interest in developing solutions to financial inclusion challenges in Eswatini, with extensive support provided by mentors and sector experts throughout the competition.
During the 3-day event, 24 teams, consisting of 77 participants, designed and developed prototype solutions to 1 of 5 problem statements that represent on-the-ground realities for MSMEs, low-income and rural communities in Eswatini. Judged on a range of fundamental criteria, the winners were awarded E50,000, the runner-up receiving E35,000, and the third placed team awarded E25,000.
The Innovation Hackathon Eswatini set out to achieve the following key objectives:
- Design and develop next-generation applications to improve on existing credit systems and digital product offering;
- Connect technology with people to bridge the financial inclusion divide in Eswatini;
- Create technological solutions that are built for Eswatini and solve local challenges;
- Leverage existing information, networks and human capacity to build innovations and solutions to presented challenges.