The Monday mindset: 10 April 2017
Fintech zeitgeist! Every Monday, we might look back at last week; look ahead to this week; share a few thoughts (our own or others); or discuss anything that catches our eye.
This week, Banking Technology’s deputy editor Antony Peyton briefly reflects on last week’s visit to Morocco for HPS Worldwide’s PowerCARD Users Meeting 2017.
At the event it was good to see some young Moroccan firms offering up some ideas for payments and using APIs effectively in a hackathon.
As a quick recap – these firms included Eye Payment Systems – which offers payments with biometrics. MyBills – which lets users pay all bills through one app. Fill Me Up – which provides a mobile payment service for motor vehicles. And the overall winner, Pic & Pay, which offers a neat ecommerce solution – take a picture of a product and find it online, and then buy it quickly and conveniently.
Granted these ideas aren’t so new. But HPS was looking for good user experience (UX) and people willing to give it a go.
Morocco as a nation is not doing that well in the GDP rankings. The International Monetary Fund ranks it this year at number 58 – just below Greece. And we know what’s happening in the latter country.
But having seen the start-ups’ attitude and energy, the fintech scene here could be a lot better. The people have the language skills – Arabic, French and usually pretty good English. Doing international trade would be easier compared to some other countries.
Also, after the HPS event finished, I had a chance on Friday evening (7 April) to look around Marrakesh’s city centre. An intense place in terms of sound, smell and people trying to sell.
But let’s face it, our whole lives are about selling – ourselves via a CV or social media, the company we work for by our input/output, etc etc.
I didn’t have a major problem with people trying to hustle me in Marrakesh. Unless you’re very young and inexperienced, you’re going to see their plans a mile off. To be honest, there wasn’t one minute when I was left alone, but you got to keep walking.
The point is, they have the nous, language skills and desire to get more out of the fintech arena. And it is an arena. Companies like HPS are tapping into the local talent, but unless other firms and the Moroccan government wake up soon, the nation’s just going to be a passenger in the global drive to fintech success.
Last week’s Monday mindset was all about India’s fintech activity in its retail market.
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There won’t be a Monday mindset next week as it’s a UK public holiday.