The ASEAN and APEC Business Councils of Brunei Darussalam recently hosted forum dubbed ‘A Conversation on Accelerating Fintech and Green Finance in Brunei’ in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economy and the British High Commission in partnership with Baiduri Bank.
The meeting aimed to explore how Brunei can increase the use of financial digital tools and also raise greater awareness of sustainable finance.
In a keynote address by Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Economy) Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Khairuddin Haji Abdul Hamid, he highlighted the importance of green finance and its links with Islamic Finance while noting the opportunities that FinTech could offer to advance green finance is tremendous where it could help to address the pain points in developing green finance such as large information gathering and requirement of real-time data, complex risk assessment and documentations as well as trustworthiness of the greenness of the projects or investments.
The deputy minister also underlined the importance of the development of a sustainable financial sector which can channel funds into green initiatives and cited Electric vehicle financing as an example.
He called on relevant entities to explore how the country can benefit from sustainable finance in line with the third goal of Wawasan Brunei 2035 to make Brunei Darussalam a dynamic and sustainable economy.
Furthermore, the forum also featured British Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Brunei Mark Garnier MP who shared the UK’s approach to fintech and the regulatory practices put in place and how universities have worked towards supporting fintech.
The trade envoy also emphasised the importance of green finance driving climate action and provided examples of the commitments made during COP26.
On her part, Chair of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council Brunei Haslina Taib, in her welcoming remarks noted that it is imperative to ride on the digital transformation momentum accelerated by the pandemic and encourage the use of FinTech to strengthen Brunei’s digital economy.
“In order to do this, one of the important tasks in my opinion is to build the right fintech capabilities,” she said.
During a panel discussion, Haslina said that the Brunei legacy Digital Gateway project is an industry-led digital transformation initiative that will contribute toward achieving ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025 and the Bandar Seri Begawan Roadmap.
The first milestone would be the launch of a credential wallet during Cambodia’s Chairmanship of ASEAN.
Moreover, the panel discussion that followed included Managing Director of Brunei Darussalam Central Bank (BDCB) Hajah Rokiah Haji Badar, British Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Brunei, Myanmar and Thailand Mark Garnier MP, Chair of ASEAN Business Advisory Council Brunei and CEO of Dynamik Technologies Haslina Taib and, CEO of Baiduri Bank Ti Eng Hui.
The panel explored the regulatory framework and practical steps of growing the fintech sector in Brunei as well as what to expect with regards to green finance.
On his part, the ceo of Baiduri Bank made the point that Brunei has the potential to be an excellent financial centre as it has the right building blocks, regulatory framework and is focussing on capacity building.
He also explained how digitalisation is creating efficiencies in the banking sector with the use of Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence but also how virtualisation of data centres is helping Baiduri Bank cut its carbon footprint by reducing the number of servers from 300 to 22.
The audience also heard from BDCB’s Managing Director who provided an overview of the regulatory framework and the many initiatives underway such as the establishment of the Fintech Association and the education programmes available through the Brunei Institute of Leadership & Islamic Finance.
Hajah Rokiah also shared that BDCB is the Chair of the ASEAN Taxonomy Board for Sustainable Finance and has set up a sustainable finance task force within BDCB to look at how green finance can help achieve Brunei’s economic and sustainability goals.
The panel noted that green finance plays a pivotal role in helping Brunei achieve its COP26 commitments and net-zero ambitions.
The forum was part of the Brunei Economy Programme, an initiative by the ASEAN and APEC Business Advisory Councils of Brunei to connect global issues with the Brunei economy.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN