Cybersecurity Practices Within Cameroonia's Fintech Start-ups

Enterprise Security Magazine | Friday, June 17, 2022

A survey of Cameroonian fintech companies shows that they value cybersecurity but do not possess a unified strategy against cyber threats. Awareness campaigns and enhanced regulations could help safeguard the country's financial services sector.

FREMONT, CA: The Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa (2020–2030) envisions a digital economy that is both integrated and inclusive. The strategy recognises that a digital transformation in Africa would aid in the achievement of Agenda 2063 goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Simultaneously, it identifies some vulnerabilities to a digitally changed Africa, not least difficulties relating to financial service security. The Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa regulates financial services, notably fintech companies, at the regional level in Cameroon (CEMAC). While Cameroon's Ministry of Finance plays a larger supervisory role, the CEMAC creates and the Banking Commission of Central Africa approves legislation governing the country's financial sector.  The CEMAC, on the other hand, places the responsibility for maintaining the integrity and security of communications networks and digital infrastructure for financial services and general communications on member nations. In response, the Cameroonian government approved Law No. 2010/012 on Cybersecurity and Cybercrime in Cameroon on December 21, 2010. Fintech start-ups are currently in the spotlight due to the current media frenzy around them. Customers will be drawn in, but cyber thieves searching for easy targets will be drawn in as well. It's critical to evaluate the steps taken by Cameroon's fintech startups to protect their digital systems and applications from cyber assaults and establish consumer trust in their data security.

Fintech has been defined as a synonym for financial technology, merging bank experience with modern management science methodologies and the computer since the 1970s.  It is now characterised as a "new financial industry that uses technology to enhance financial activity.

The five factors that make up the fintech ecosystem are as follows:

• Fintech start-ups are mostly active in electronic payments, lending, insurance, crowdfunding, and to a lesser extent capital asset management in Cameroon, particularly for cryptocurrency.

• Technology developers: Blockchain, data analytics, and cloud computing are just a few examples. developers

• Individuals and businesses are financial customers.

• Banks, insurance companies, venture capitalists, and wealth managers are examples of classic financial institutions.

• Financial regulators and legislators are examples of government officials.

Cameroon has the greatest mobile money penetration rate in the CEMAC area, with a literacy rate of 77 percent8. 9 Fintech start-ups could not participate in the digital financial services boom at first since only banks and microfinance institutions were allowed by law to provide payment services, frequently in collaboration with technical operators such as telecom corporations. However, this changed in 2019 when a CEMAC payment services rule expanded payment service providers to include non-banking entities such as digital platforms and fintech start-ups. The government of Cameroon is explicitly dedicated to promoting digitization and access to financial services across the country, with initiatives like a start-up incubator and a national payment switch meant to lower mobile transaction costs and enable better interconnection conditions. However, the government acknowledges that much work remains to be done not only to secure the country's digital networks but also to establish civilian trust in digital technology.

New technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, big data analytics, robotic process automation, and blockchain are transforming the financial services industry in Cameroon. Fintech companies and the customers they service confront new vulnerabilities as a result of their increased use of technology, which differs from the threats that traditional banking institutions face. Simultaneously, one of the characteristics of start-ups in Africa, and particularly in Cameroon, is that they frequently have small budgets and limited or no access to financing, a situation that can lead some fintech start-ups to see the security of their systems and applications as a burden rather than an opportunity.

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