Governor Ismaili: Advancement and digitization of financial services, alternative financing products contributes to financial inclusion, increasing competition, reducing informality and integration in regional and EU countries

14/11/2023

The Governor of the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo, Ahmet Ismaili, in the introductory remarks of the conference “Banks, fintechs and businesses: Building synergies for accelerating access to finance”, co-organized by USAID from the CBK, emphasized that the highest financial institution in the country is developing projects in function of access to finance, increasing competitiveness, alternatives and improving services to citizens.

He emphasized that the CBK is in the process of advancing the regulatory and supervisory framework and infrastructure in the field of payment services, in the direction of harmonization with EU legislation, as part of the Strategic Plan and the new objectives set.

“According to the legal mandate and through its Strategy, the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo is in the process of advancing the regulatory and supervisory framework and infrastructure in the field of payment services, in the direction of harmonization with the legislation of the European Union, PFMI and other international standards in function of membership in SEPA and EU payment systems", said Governor Ismaili.

Governor Ismaili highlighted that membership in TIPS and SEPA scheme remains a strategic objective of the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo, which would facilitate trade and strengthen the stability of the financial system, thus significantly contributing to an innovative, efficient and integrated payment system.

In this conference, he pointed out that the advancement of financial services towards the transformation of electronic payments contributes to increasing competition and reducing informality in the country. In this regard, CBK has concrete plans and is fully engaged in this direction.

“The advancement of financial services towards the transformation of electronic payments (non-cash) and alternative financing products will contribute to financial inclusion, increasing competition and reducing costs, reducing informality and increasing effectiveness, as well as provision of quality services to citizens by financial institutions, as well as the integration of our citizens and businesses in the region and EU countries", Governor Ismaili points out.

In addition, the head of the CBK emphasized that investments will be made in building infrastructural capacities and human resources.

“By investing in this direction, we will ensure that the systems, equipment, staff knowledge, skills and tools enable the transformation and are relevant and effective in supervising the risks of new technologies and innovative business models”, emphasized the head of the CBK.

Furthermore, Governor Ismaili announced that the CBK is engaged in advocating for adding the Republic of Kosovo to international payment platforms, for enabling access to international payment platforms (Paypal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.), to support e-commerce and develop the technical infrastructure for enabling fast payments 24/7, the creation of the national QR Code and the standardization of the API for the interconnection of systems", Governor Ismaili said in his speech.

However, new technological developments and digitization also bring additional risks, which require addressing and great care. In this regard, the CBK has also planned the creation of a special function for the supervision of information systems or cyber risk, as well as the strengthening of financial education, as a means to have a correct and fair treatment of the requests arising from these services.

“The CBK will carefully handle the risks that emerge, such as strategic, reputational, operational, cyber risk and compliance risk, and will work closely with academic institutions in carrying out research and scientific research regarding access to finance and financial inclusion”, emphasized the head of the CBK.

During this speech, Governor Ismaili urged bank and non-bank financial institutions to address cyber risk and invest in infrastructure and possess sufficient qualified staff to monitor and supervise their activities contracted by third parties.

“These institutions should take into account factors that ensure business continuity, confidentiality and integrity of information when contracting services from external parties, as well as increase attention to external ownership and origins of client funds, through observation mechanisms (Investor's Screening Mechanism), taking into account the current geostrategic risks”, requested Governor Ismaili.

In the end, Governor Ismaili underlined the importance of the USAID project, adding that it is an important tool to achieve the objective and Strategic Plan of CBK.

“The CBK considers that the USAID project for Investment Promotion and Access to Finance is an important activity that contributes to the realization of its objectives and Strategic Plan. Therefore, through its presence today, it confirms its readiness and support both in achieving development goals and quality and financial services with wide involvement”, Governor Ismaili concluded.

Whereas, on behalf of the co-organizer, in his introductory remarks, the Director of Office of Economic Growth at USAID Kosovo, Mr. Alexander Albertine indicated that through the activity for Promotion of Investments and Access to Finance, efforts are being made to ensure that Kosovo is fully utilizing its financial ecosystem.

“Through the Investment Promotion and Access to Finance activity, USAID is committed to ensuring that Kosovo fully utilizes its financial ecosystem. Cooperation with the Central Bank of Kosovo proves this commitment. We are continuing to work closely with all stakeholders to encourage the introduction of innovative solutions and technologies among banks and fintechs, thus improving the overall financial ecosystem”, emphasized Mr. Albertine.