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Why Saturated took part in the III International Olympiad on Financial Security in Sochi, Russia?

On the 29th of September 2023, our co-founders met with six other finalists at the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) military facility in the capital city of the Republic of South Africa — Pretoria. A briefing to prepare team South Africa was to be held which consisted of a representative of the Russian Embassy in South Africa, South African military veterans and representatives from Shriye Krug which is South Africa’s forum for Russian alumni. Words of encouragement and support were shared for the team as they prepared to embark on a lengthy, exciting and experience-rich journey.

Mamello Mofokeng (CEO) and Nkululeko Nkosi (COO) were part of the top 8 contestants who made the cut after achieving the highest scores out of thousands of entries from South Africa. The South African team was split into two streams; namely jurisprudence and economics, with four contestants in each category. In terms of Saturated, the two innovators represented the University of South Africa under the jurisprudence (law) stream. Mamello is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences in Microbiology with Business Management and Nkululeko is pursuing a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) respectively.

“You are well aware that advanced solutions and technologies are rapidly developing in the financial sector, including digital currency, tokenised assets, new payment services and financial transaction models, including some based on blockchain technology – so-called distributed ledger technology. When we have this foundation and this basis, modern and essentially revolutionary technological solutions allow us to create a truly unique financial settlement system and even, if we take a broader look, an innovative infrastructure of global economic, trade, industrial and academic cooperation”.

His Excellency, President Vladimir Putin

As a measure of the magnitude and the competitive nature of this global competition, it is notable to mention that over 12 500 students took part in the qualifying round of the International Olympiad with 2 000 of them being foreign students who are domiciled outside of the Russian Federation. For this year’s edition, the geography of the competition was expanded beyond BRICS and former Soviet Union states and these states included Algeria, Cuba, Vietnam, Namibia, Venezuela and Pakistan with 550 of the best participants selected from these states. The educational programmes included economics, international relations, foreign regional studies; mathematics, applied mathematics and computer science, applied mathematics, mathematics and computer science, fundamental computer science and information technology, computer science and computer engineering, applied computer science, information security and business informatics.

The importance of the International Olympiad on Financial Security

The idea of hosting an Olympiad which focuses primarily on financial security was initiated three years ago. Rosfinmonitoring in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the International Educational and Methodological Centre, Talent and Success Foundation and the federal territory of Sirius are behind the initiative with full support and backing from the Kremlin.

The main goal of the Olympiad is to drive the enhancement of the information, financial and legal literacy of the younger generation whilst searching for talented youth and stimulating educational, cognitive and research activities in the field of financial security. The Olympiad seeks to achieve the following tasks:

1. Creating conditions for an individual educational trajectory, promotion of the professional orientation for schoolers and students with the view of the human resources formation for the financial security system.

2. Shaping of a new way of thinking and a new format of activity, identification of talented schoolers and students in the field of financial security.

3. Forming a unified educational and research space and, in the long term, creation of an information space in the field of financial security.

Financial security is a highly crucial practice and professional field for South Africa as the country was grey-listed as a result of the lack of successful prosecution of individuals or entities involved in money laundering and financing terrorism. As a member of the BRICS bloc, South Africa has a great opportunity to not only improve its own financial security for the sake of national security but also position itself as a leader in the field in the African continent. The South African government is also presented with an opportunity to educate its citizens on the importance of financial security in combatting public and private sector corruption, money laundering, cybercrime and other financial crimes. The dynamics of the current structure of the world order are rapidly changing as we witness the introduction of a multi-polar new world order.

Why is the International Olympiad on Financial Security important for Saturated?

Saturated is a sector-agnostic digital and technological solutions agency that leverages ICT products and services alongside creative communications to ensure that governments and businesses are innovation driven. Our aim is to ensure that governments perform efficiently and effectively without bottlenecks as result of policy or process saturation. On the other hand, we work with business to guarantee a smooth and seamless digital transformation transition whilst ensuring that they are highly competitive within saturated markets.

As a startup that is in its growth phase, exposure to international markets and talent pool of entrepreneurs and scholars not only makes more competitive but also well-positioned to bring the knowledge gained back to our home country. One of our newest service offerings is cybersecurity which is a broad field which consists of many specialisations. Having our founding and leadership team be selected for a global contest for achieving the highest scores is great affirmation that we are in the right direction. The International Olympiad offered us insight into some of the current challenges for states and businesses in the AML/CFT field, the regulatory requirements of borderless digital currency, AI & ML models for AML/CFT and international cooperation of financial intelligence agencies. These are specialisation areas that present incredible opportunities for us locally and internationally.

The role that startups play in driving the much needed advancements in the AML/CFT field are immense — a sentiment echoed by the Presidential Executive Office of the Russian Federation, Rosfinmonitoring and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. During the Olympiad week, there were over 60 events and workshops focused on various aspects of financial security. The biggest takeout for us a team was how much opportunity exists for youth in Africa in making the world a better place. As we kick doors down and ran our marathon, ours is to include other youth like us in the race for prosperity. We returned to South Africa on the 8th of October 2023, equipped with a fresh perspective, inspiration and a burning desire to act on our ideas to make them a reality.

As our our saying goes: #SaturatedMoves

For more reading, please read the articles below:

  1. Sputnik Mediabank: https://sputnikmediabank.com/media/8529380.html
  2. Kremlin, Presidential Office of the Russian Federation: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/72429
  3. Reuters: https://fb.watch/nzxD6XI1Ec/?mibextid=71fmQt

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