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Digital Financial Services & Innovation
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Digital Financial Services (DFS) comprises of a broad range of financial services accessed and delivered through digital channels, including payments, credit, remittances, mobile financial services, and insurance. DFS can also be referred to the use of technology to enhance the delivery of financial services or promote “cashless” or “cash-lite” transactions. The use of DFS also positively enhances financial inclusion as financial services can become more cost-effective, accessible and faster. DFS with strong regulations, cooperation frameworks and investment can strengthen the financial sector in Sierra Leone, provide liquidity to financial system and propel the development of financial services infrastructure necessary for resilient growth.
In an effort to enhance DFS and promote innovation, the Bank had taken several initiatives such as;
- Launching of Two (2) Sierra Leone Fintech Challenge to provide start-up capital for FinTechs to pilot tech-based solutions to solve the challenges of exclusion.
- The Sandbox Program pilot tech-based solutions to solve the challenges of exclusion by both new financial technology companies and incumbents like the commercial banks.
- G2P and P2P Project focused on creating digital products for the vulnerable segments of the population and an assessment of smallholder farmers to introduce DFS solutions.
- To foster interoperability, the Bank is in advance stage of the installation of the national payment switch under ‘’ the Sierra Leone Financial Inclusion Project” which will allow for more accessible and affordable financial services.
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BSL Regulatory Sandbox
In its bid to provide a regulatory environment that is conducive for the deployment of new and innovative Financial Technologies (FinTech) and business models in Sierra Leone, the Bank of Sierra Leone has introduced a Regulatory Sandbox Pilot Program. The objective of the program is to enable innovative Fintech products, services and solutions to be deployed and tested in a live environment prior to launch into the marketplace within specified parameters and timeframe.

DFS in Sierra Leone - Annual Provider Survey
The BSL in partnership with UNCDF annually reports on the state of DFS in Sierra Leone. The report brings out findings from the Annual Provider Survey conducted each year which collects data on account ownership and activity of digital financial services across all financial institutions in the DFS space. Data is also shared on how the sector is progressing and highlights challenges or opportunities to improve the sector.