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FinTech in Focus: Welcoming Yousra, Design Justice, AI in FinTech

FinTech in Focus: Welcoming Yousra, Design Justice, AI in FinTech

In This Newsletter

Welcome Yousra, FinTech Intern
Design Justice in FinTech
AI Leaps Forward

Welcome Yousra, FinTech Intern

We are excited to welcome a new addition to our team for the spring of 2023, Yousra Mohamed Ali Ahmed. Yousra is currently interning with the FinTech program as part of her participation in the IFC-Milken Institute Capital Markets Program. She represents the Central Bank of Sudan in the ninth cohort, which began its year-long program in the fall of 2022. Read on to get to know her background, Sudan, and the research she is conducting while she is with us.

Yousra is excited to learn more about the development of FinTech and the best practices of US regulators, banks, and policymakers. She is looking forward to contributing to the development of the capital market in Sudan and transferring knowledge and experience in FinTech when she returns to her home country with a deepened understanding of the US capital market. Yousra has experience in foreign exchange, import-export accounting, foreign reserve management, transactions, and as an investment supervisor.

Yousra is a documentary credit specialist for the Central Bank of Sudan. She has 14 years of experience in banking, the financial sector, and trade finance. She has been with the Central Bank of Sudan since she started her career. She holds a bachelor’s degree in banking and financial studies, a master’s degree in finance, and a certified documentary credit specialization from The London Institute of Banking & Finance.

As part of her work with the Institute, Yousra will be conducting a survey of the FinTech regulations and innovations among the members of her IFC-Milken Institute scholars’ cohort, planning the Future of Digital Assets Symposium on March 2, and writing one of our upcoming newsletters.

Design Justice in FinTech

This month, the program is highlighting the role design justice principles can play in FinTech. In conversations with WebQ, for example, our program has explored design justice principles in developing Web3 applications. 

WebQ represents LGBTQIA+ and allied communities to cultivate systemic equity in the design of startups, emerging technologies, institutions, and policies. Institutions and networks such as WebQ, Commonwealth, and Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center actively apply these design principles to FinTech policy and product design through advocacy, programming, and research.

The Design Justice Network, in its 10 design principles, calls for historically marginalized communities to participate at every level of the design process. Through thoughtful participatory design, communities can sustain themselves, break from oppressive systems, heal themselves, and develop systems of empowerment. The strategies behind design justice can inform policymaking and product development by prioritizing the representation of people directly impacted by the outcomes of those new systems at the design table.

In the FinTech space, design justice principles can identify and solve structural barriers to wealth creation, efficient payments, financial privacy, access to credit, and more. Financial tools like 401(k)s, mortgages, and credit scores depend on permanent mailing addresses, regular paychecks, and basic financial literacy that many BlPOC, LGBTQIA+, immigrant, refugee, and other communities often cannot access. As product designers and policymakers build financial inclusion, they can benefit from a bottom-up approach focusing on actively listening to and engaging with historically peripheral communities.

Last year, the World Bank published a report on FinTech and the Future of Finance and expressed skepticism toward the idea of market forces alone delivering on FinTech’s promise to expand financial inclusion. It suggested that unbanked and underbanked communities will be the most affected by innovation in FinTech, despite these communities historically having little to no influence in product and policy design.

The World Bank recommends that policymakers review regulatory, supervisory, and oversight frameworks to ensure they can foster a sufficiently inclusive financial system. As businesses and policymakers reevaluate their policies considering ongoing innovation and disruption, inclusive design principles that listen to and actively involve the communities most affected by FinTech can inform future frameworks for regulation and product development.

It is imperative for businesses and policymakers to listen actively and involve marginalized communities as they reevaluate their policies and design future frameworks for regulation and product development.

AI Leaps Forward

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is rapidly advancing. The Washington Post reports that the public release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT sent industry veterans like Google and Facebook scrambling to showcase their own AI tech. There is a significant role that AI applications will play in FinTech innovation.

AI has the potential to significantly change the FinTech industry by transforming the way financial services are delivered and consumed. The technology has already made significant strides in areas such as fraud detection, risk management, and personalized financial advice.

One of the ways AI will change FinTech is through the automation of manual tasks like fraud detection, loan underwriting, and compliance reporting. This application has the potential to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and allow FinTech companies to provide better services to their customers. In addition, AI can analyze vast amounts of data to provide actionable insights into consumer behavior and market trends, enabling FinTech companies to offer more personalized and relevant financial services.

At the Institute’s Middle East and Africa Summit session, The Next FinTech Unicorn: Investment Opportunities in FinTech, Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski explored how the role of AI virtual financial assistants may change FinTech. These AI-powered assistants can help customers in real-time with tasks such as budgeting, saving, and investment management, reducing the need for human financial advisors. Furthermore, with the use of natural language processing and chatbots, customers can communicate with virtual assistants through simple text-based interfaces, making it easier to access financial services on the go.

This section on AI and FinTech was drafted using prompts in OpenAI’s ChatGPT.