Egypt could witness leap in mobile money services: GSMA
Fawry CEO Ashraf Sabry speaking at Egypt's first financial inclusion conference - Photo courtesy of Fawry
By YASMINE SAMRA

CAIRO: Egypt is expected to witness a rapid growth in mobile financial services, but this requires mulling new legislation and regulations, said Claire Penicaud, Market Intelligence Manager for the Mobile Money Program Association at the GSM Association.

GSMA launched the Mobile Money Program in many initiatives worldwide to expand in financial and banking services via cell phones, Penicaud said at Egypt’s first financial inclusion conference on June 17.

The conference entitled “Towards Greater Access to Financial and Governmental Services,” was organized by Fawry, the leading nationwide Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment (EBPP) platform in Egypt, in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and MasterCard.

During the one-day conference, a number of leading experts from Latin America and Africa reviewed mobile and electronic financial services in their countries.

“The conference aims to discuss the best means to extend financial and governmental services to small and micro enterprises and the needy Egyptians, a process that is one of the most important mechanisms of engaging the informal sector in the State’s system as well as attaining social justice,” CEO of Fawry Ashraf Sabry said.

Latin America and African States have similar social and economic conditions to Egypt, Sabry said and that their participation will enrich the discussion around actual challenges, models, and reasons for success or failure with the hope of reaching the best model that fits Egypt’s needs.

“Presenting the expertise of these countries to experts and decision makers in Egypt could help create a clear strategy that offers the best solution to the Egyptian citizens,” added Sabry.

MasterCard’s Division President in Middle East and North Africa Raghu Malhotra said people always prefer cash payment which costs the national economy megabucks amounting to $220 billion.

“Corruption is one of cash liquidity negative consequences,” Malhotra said and that MasterCard, in collaboration with the National Bank of Egypt and mobile operator Etisalat Misr, established a network for electronic financial services during the past two years, while the country was facing dramatic upheaval.

This infrastructure should be utilized in the upcoming period, he added.

“MasterCard has been at the forefront of developing innovative payment programs aimed at bringing the unbanked, which is nearly 65 per cent of the country, under the ambit of formal financial services,” MasterCard Country Manager in Egypt Magdy Hassan said.

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