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No Open Banking

The Polynesian island country has a roadmap to transform Samoa’s digital economy.

34% of Samoans had access to the internet at the beginning of 2022.

39% of Samoan adults have bank accounts, leaving 61% unbanked. Contrary to the global trend on gender and financial inclusion, a slightly higher proportion of Samoan women (40%) are banked than men (38%). 80% of unbanked Samoans responded that they do not have a bank account due to a lack of money. This finding may speak to existing barriers such as distance, high minimum balance requirements, or a lack of suitable products that cater to the needs of people with low incomes or a lack of knowledge thereof on the part of the unbanked. 

The government recently published the Samoa 2040 plan, which provides a roadmap for the country’s development, with a focus on Samoa’s digital economy.

Samoa does not have a national payments gateway and the country’s four commercial banks are not interoperable. This means that making digital transactions between entrepreneurs and online customers is not possible unless they use the same financial service provider. This is not the seamless digital process that clients have come to expect.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), fintech could potentially allow Pacific island countries to alleviate the impact of structural impediments and persistent challenges, such as geographic remoteness and dispersion, small scale, limited infrastructure, and fragile correspondent banking relationships. Fintech solutions can complement existing efforts to promote financial inclusion, enhance financial sector development, and increase inclusive growth potential, thereby reducing poverty.

Samoa aims to conduct regular analysis of the labour market to address any skills shortages accordingly.