The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has authorised 28 banks operating in the Egyptian market to provide mobile payment services, according to the CBE’s Governor Tarek Amer.
He revealed that mobile payment subscribers reached 13.5 million at the end of June 2019, with a total value of transactions of about EGP 20bn until September 2019.
Meanwhile, the number of Meeza card users – a national electronic payment card – reached 2 million until September, Amer said.
He added that the card was linked to about 76,000 electronic points of sale (POS) and 13,000 ATMs, recording total transactions of about 510,000 transactions, valued at EGP 564m.
Amer revealed that 28 banks operating in the Egyptian market have received approvals to provide mobile payment service.
This came during Amer’s speech at the Digital Transformation in Banks and the Future of Financial Intermediation Forum, held on 26-28 September in Sharm El-Sheikh. The speech was delivered on Amer’s behalf by Ehab Nasr, the assistant sub governor for payment systems and business technology sector at the CBE.
Egypt has been aware of the importance of digital transformation and its various positive effects on the national economy and the banking sector, which was evident in President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s chairmanship of the National Payments Council, established in February 2017. The council’s membership includes all relevant ministries and sovereign bodies.
According to the speech, the CBE added a full section to the new Banking Law regarding payment systems and services to provide a legislative basis for payment services and financial technology. Moreover, the Non-cash Payment Law was passed on 16 April 2019 with a view to develop a legislative framework for non-cash payments.
Amer pointed out that the state’s efforts in this field have resulted in many achievements regarding digital transformation, including the launch of the national payment card, Meeza, in addition to the CBE’s cooperation with the Ministry of Finance to automate the collection of government payments, whose first phase was launched on 1 May 2019.
According to Amer, about 16,000 government POS and 16,000 QR codes have been deployed.
The strategy of financial technology was launched during the activities of the Arab and African Youth Forum, held in March 2019 in Aswan governorate, in the presence of President Al-Sisi, as a way of encouraging innovation and the use of financial technology to meet the diverse needs of customers, especially young people.
Amer referred to the establishment of the Fintech Innovation Fund as a new investment platform in cooperation with a number of local and international institutions, and the establishment of the laboratory of financial technology applications, which began its work in June 2019. In addition, the CBE established the Fintech Hub and FinTech Egypt portal to support and connect all parties of financial technology system.
Amer also stressed the keenness of the CBE to strengthen cybersecurity in the banking sector, pointing out to the establishment of a centre to respond to computer emergencies, and the launch of an initiative to distinguish cybersecurity in the banking sector, in cooperation with the Egyptian Banking Institute. The institute aims to graduate 100 specialists in this field over two years, in partnership with five international institutions specialised in IT security.
On the regional level, Amer said that the CBE has set its sights on cooperation with all central banks in various countries, especially Arab central banks, to implement initiatives aimed at promoting digital transformation. The most important of these initiatives is the Arab Clearing System initiative, expected to be launched in 2020, which was implemented by the Arab Monetary Fund, in cooperation with experts and representatives of central banks and Arab monetary institutions.