The overall objective of this project is to introduce and facilitate credit information sharing both in-country and cross-border across the SADC Region, the key focus is to set up associations similar to SACRRA in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana.
To date the project has been funded by FinMark Trust. The FinMark Trust coordinators have accomplished requirements to the point where they have had Associations registered with Constitutions and codes of ethics developed in accordance with the laws in the various countries.
The next phase is hands-on assistance to establish the physical “Association Office” and infrastructure to operationalise a data sharing environment.
A workshop sponsored by FinMark Trust, was held over 3 days for the country coordinators at the end of September. The first 2 days were at a technical level together with SACRRA experts/resources. The intention is to transfer knowledge and provide the requirements, guidance, and training that is necessary to set up and operationalise a “physical” association office and infrastructure.
Across all the countries, despite regulations and law that compels credit providers to share their data, generally credit providers are sceptical around the concept which is directly attributed to a lack of understanding and knowledge of the concept of data sharing including the usage thereof. To this end the 3rd day of the workshop has been set aside for the Chairpersons of the associations to attend a strategic session with guest speakers focussing on economic and socio economic issues and considerations for the associations.
Although separate boards in-country, lobbying also needs to be considered of associations such as BASA as well SACRRA’s bigger Members who trade in-country to assist with providing necessary impotence to ensure momentum and the success of the project.
Overall the project aims to make access possible in the SADC countries, however a major challenge is addressing a number issues around the flow of data across border, these are not definitive but will include:
1. Data transmission: does data generated outside continue to flow through the Data Transmission Hub?
a. This will be unfair for the credit bureaus who do not have a foot-print outside South Africa but co-own the Data Transmission Hub.
b. Highly advantageous to those that have a foot-pint in-country, yet a disadvantage to the local credit bureaus who will not have access to the data
2. Data Specification: The Bank of Namibia and the Zambia Credit Reporting Association (ZamCRA) have taken up SACRRA’s offer to use the L700v2, until the other countries purchase the Data Specification under license they cannot make use of our Data Specification, legally.
3. Regulation: It will be imperative for Members trading in-country to align with the local associations as well as the law and regulation to ensure that their data practices are acceptable to those bodies. Cost of compliance will also need to be considered as practices may well differ per country. Up to date contact details of the Associations in-country will be distributed to Members shortly to commence necessary discussion and engagement.
Please refer to Annexure C for contact information within the SADC region.
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