2018 CBE Fintech Challenge

2018 CBE Fintech Challenge


The financial services sector is currently witnessing the emergence of technologies that have the potential to offer new and innovative financial services. It has been widely recognized that financial technology (fintech) maybe an important driving force to effective competition, consumer choice and innovation in the financial industry.

Eswatini has a unique opportunity to “leapfrog” redundant and inferior eras of technological advancement, and address financial challenges, especially for the unbanked rural population. In this regard, the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE) in partnership with the Royal Science and Technology Park (RSTP), the Eswatini Communications Commission (ESCCOM) and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) have taken the initiative to stimulate financial sector innovations through the CBE Fintech Challenge, to be launched on 13 August 2018.

About the challenge

The CBE Fintech Challenge incentivizes the adoption of emerging technologies and encourages collaboration between regulators, incubators and fintechs to modernize the financial industry Eswatini.

The challenge aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • To encourage and accelerate innovation in the financial sector.
  • To incentivize the adoption of the latest financial technology.
  • To explore offline (dead-zones) payment solutions.
  • To promote collaboration in the local financial industry ecosystem.
  • To reduce the costs of regulatory compliance for existing and new entrants.
  • To obtain input to inform regulatory reforms to meet the demands of fintech environments.

Who are we looking for?

The competition is open to financial technology startups and teams of 1 to 5 offering innovative and viable solutions addressing problems in finance.

  • All participants must be 15 years or older (15+) on the close date of the competition.
  • Non-Swati nationals with permanent residency, work permit or study permit or a Swati registered company are welcome to join.
  • Applicants must be owners of the innovation’s related intellectual property rights.
  • The challenge is not open to CBE and partners’ staff members and their immediate family members.

Scope of interest

The CBE Fintech Challenge invites financial technology startups, teams and individuals to come up with innovative, novel, exciting, impactful and viable solutions for the listed themes:

  • Social Finance: Technology driven solutions to help underbanked customer groups get better access to affordable financial services and products.
  • Digital on boarding: Solutions that address remote or digital verification of customers.
  • Digital Payment Solutions: Solutions to help Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) accept affordable, faster and easier digital payments (particularly engaging the underbanked population).
  • Remittances: Solutions to deliver secure and faster transfers within Eswatini and across borders at affordable rates.
  • Offline Mobile Payments: Solutions that leverage on technology to enable customers to carry out mobile financial transactions without internet connectivity (Dead Zones).
  • Savings: Technological solutions that help people and MSMEs start saving and plan for the future.
  • InsureTech: Technology driven solutions to offer and manage insurance products.
  • Borrowing and Credit: Solutions to improve access to credit, and help customers understand and better manage credit.
  • RegTech: Solutions to facilitate the delivery of regulatory requirements.
  • Cyber Security: IT solutions against cyber-attacks in the financial sector.
  • Wild card: Develop a solution to a problem in the fintech space that inspires you.

Judging Criteria

Submissions will be evaluated for creativity and novelty, technical sophistication and business merit. The judges are experts in the technology and finance industry.

Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Sustainability, integration and scalability of product or service.
  • Impact on the financially excluded and under-banked population (finclusion).
  • Underlying technology, feasibility and effectiveness of solution.
  • Time proposed for completion of prototype.

What is on offer?


Thirty (30) shortlisted teams will attend a 4 day Bootcamp training on starting a business, innovation and financial regulation. Participants will be awarded with certificates of attendance upon successful completion of the training.

Top Ten (10) Finalist

The top 10 finalist will enjoy the following benefits prior to the final selection:

  • Coaching and training by industry specialists.
  • Guidance on the regulatory framework relevant for your product(s) from the CBE, RSTP, ESCCOM and FSRA.
  • Technical expert advice on programming and software development.
  • An opportunity to meet financial industry executives and potential investors.
  • A cash prize of SZL 5 000 each, to help further develop your product.
  • A Samsung Galaxy Tablet E each, to assist towards developing your idea.
  • Marketing opportunities at the CBE fintech conference.

Grand Prize: Three (3) Winners

The top three (3) winners will receive the following benefits:

  • 12 months internet connectivity subscription each, worth a combined SZL 28 800.
  • A cash prize of SZL 16 600 each, to help further develop your product.
  • A business incubation program consisting of office space, business development services, technical advice and market entry support, worth over SZL 140 000 per team member per year.
  • An opportunity to enter the CBE Regulatory Sandbox.

How to apply?

  • All applicants are to submit application forms via e-mail from 13 August to no later than 23:59hrs, 14 September 2018.
  • Application forms are available on the Central Bank of Eswatini website.
  • Shortlisted applicants will be notified by e-mail on 24 September 2018.
  • Application forms and any other relevant material must be sent to the below e-address.
  • For more information contact us at: fintechchallenge@centralbank.org.sz

Terms & conditions apply.

Challenge Timeline

Date Activity Description
13 Aug 2018 Official Launch Official Launch
13 Aug - 14 Sep 2018 Invitation Entry will open to the public to submit their application material
17 Sep - 21 Sep 2018 Shortlisting A jury of professionals will shortlist 30 applications with a predetermined criteria
24 Sep 2018 Winners announced The 30 shortlisted teams are announced.
01 Oct – 05 Oct 2018 Bootcamp Shortlisted candidates attend a bootcamp prepared by the organizers of the Challenge.
16 Oct – 18 Oct 2018 Pitches I After a successful completion of the bootcamp (training) and further development of their proposals, applicants will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.
24 Oct 2018 Finalists announced Following a predetermined criteria, the 10 finalist will be announced.
24 Oct – 26 Nov 2018 Further Designs Finalists conduct further design work, testing products and building a clear business case. Finalists may wish to buy-in external consultant support, and familiarize themselves with CBE financial regulations. Final applications and pitches will also be prepared.
27 Nov 2018 Pitch II Finalists pitch their proposals to a panel of judges including technical experts.
Dec 2018 Winners announced Three winning startups will be announced.
Jan 2019 - onwards Incubation All three winning startups will join the RSTP incubation program.