EMTECH, a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Infrastructure provider based in the U.S. joined forces with HaitiPay, a fintech company in Haiti, to demo its first CBDC + Fintech Proof Of Concept and showcase the impact it can have on the Haitian economy.
Both companies, led by Haitian women, are presenting this Proof of Concept at Ayiti Tek Konekte (Haiti Tech Connect) event hosted by the Haitian Embassy in Washington D.C. on May 5 to an audience of technical community members, investors, partners and the Central Bank of Haiti. After months of collaboration, they unveiled the first functional test of a potential CBDC being distributed and used in Haiti for the banked and unbanked population.
“We are excited to collaborate with EMTECH and showcase how CBDC and fintechs can accelerate the digitalization of a cash-based economy,’’ said Pascale Elie, Co-founder and Chairwoman of HaitiPay. “According to the 2018 Finscope survey, 56% of Haiti’s population doesn’t have access to formal financial services. On the other hand, 67% of the population has access to a phone. We leverage this connectivity to build the new rails that will enable better access to financial services at the Bottom of the Pyramid.”
‘’We are competing with cash. We engineered our wallet to be universal and telecom agnostic. We convert any basic feature phone into an electronic payment device. From street merchants to rural farmers, our wallet is the solution to accessing digital financial services. With our API enabled platform, we develop a new baseline ecosystem in Haiti, where security and traceability of transactions are building trust and unlocking value for Haiti’s young population,” added Georges Andy René, CEO of HaitiPay.
Haiti’s past and current setbacks do not determine its future. The Central Bank of The Republic of Haiti is making progress on their efforts to usher in a new age of digital finance by welcoming fintech innovation and CBDC. This collaboration showcases technology and talent ready and able. Haiti’s financial infrastructure is ripe for leapfrogging common challenges found in more developed countries. Leveraging technology and bypassing traditional challenges offers modern and cost effective payment rails for the street merchant, a mom with family abroad, and the freelancer skilled enough to earn a living online without having to leave Haiti.
“In joining forces with HaitiPay, we aim to show how a digital cash infrastructure enables the central bank to integrate much more easily with regulated fintechs to power the digital and inclusive economy,” said Carmelle Cadet, Founder and CEO of EMTECH. “This implementation comes as a turnkey solution that will become accessible for fintechs, banks and other stakeholders to pilot via our open platform at app.emtech.com later this year. We want to help central banks safely engage their ecosystem in a way that will drive financial literacy, trust, and capacity building.”
The partners worked to demonstrate how a CBDC built on a publicly distributed ledger, Hedera Hashgraph, with an API-led infrastructure can accelerate financial inclusion. This approach lowers the cost of payments and gives seamless access to digital cash for a regulated fintech like HaitiPay, and servicing the banked, unbanked, underbanked and the diaspora.
“We have developed an architecture that makes the Haitian CBDC accessible to every Haitian around the world, subject to regulatory rules,” said Tabor Wells, CTO at EMTECH. “We see the diaspora as a key stakeholder in our approach to designing for accessibility, security, scalability, and resilience.”
By driving innovative fintech adoption, Haitian leaders are supporting a wealth of synergies that will transform the country’s economy for generations to come. Fintech companies interested in Haitian innovation can sign up on app.emtech.com to start their regulatory journey in Haiti.