The executive regulation of e-payments law will be issued within the next few weeks, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Deputy Governor, Lobna Helal, announced during her speech at the people and banks conference on Tuesday.
Helal said that the law included a special part for e-payment systems and financial technology, with the aim of developing a deliberate legislative framework that regulates and protects customers’ money, and to help achieve financial inclusion and economy growth.
She stressed that digital payments using mobile phones depend on the existence of a legislative structure that facilitates and regulates the process of these payments.
She pointed out that banks have issued 13.5m mobile wallets so far, and a large proportion of them have been activated, pointing out that the CBE is working on issuing the third version of mobile phone portfolios that include new functions, such as lending through mobile wallets.
Helal stressed that the CBE is cooperating with the Ministry of Finance in the automation of government payments and has deployed 16,000 points of sale and 16,000 QR code generators so far.
According to Helal, the total number of Meeza cards issued by banks until the end of October amounted to about 3.5m cards, pointing out that about 1.5m transactions were carried out with a value of EGP 3.6bn.
Helal pointed out that the CBE has issued a new strategy for technological services support and entrepreneurship. The CBE also launched the Innovation Support Fund with a capital of EGP 1bn, and transformed the bank’s previous headquarters in Downtown Cairo to become a fintech hub.
She stressed that the CBE attaches great importance to financial inclusion and digital transformation, which will be achieved only by the development of infrastructure, noting that it was difficult to apply financial inclusion without a strong economic agenda to focus on financial inclusion and digital transformation.
Helal pointed out that the CBE put financial inclusion on its agenda in 2008 after the global crisis, and that serious steps were taken until 2011, and then continued four years ago.
Meanwhile, Hisham Okasha, chairperson of the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), said there are countries that incurred big losses due to cybercrime estimated at $600m.
During his speech at the conference, Okasha urged the need to use artificial intelligence and cybersecurity systems in Egypt.
He added that there are many international institutions that praised the economic reform programme in Egypt for achieving 5.7% growth, the highest in the region.
Okasha added that the IMF praised Egypt’s economic reform programme and the success of monetary policy in containing inflationary pressures and monetary easing policy through reducing interest rates.
He added that the state achieved great successes in digital transformation through the launch of the National Council of Payments, the National E-Commerce Strategy, and Meeza card.
Okasha pointed out that the Egyptian banking sector was open for digital transformation and technological development, thanks to the support of the CBE that took many steps to achieve this.
He stressed that the banking sector is one of the most important pillars of the economy and promotes development during the coming period, and its role in financing large, small, and medium enterprises, because of its role in reducing unemployment and achieving financial inclusion.
Yehia Aboul Fotouh, vice chairperson of the NBE, said that the banking system is the most important pillar of the Egyptian economy and has proven its strength over the various crises in the past years.
Aboul Fotouh added that the Egyptian banking sector is on a solid ground, as its assets amount to EGP 5.5trn, plus EGP 4trn deposits and loan portfolio of EGP 1.9trn.
Aboul Fotouh pointed out that there is a strong trend within the banking sector towards financial technology, supported by strong efforts from the CBE.
Mostafa El-Fekky, chairperson of Arab Media Centre, said the Egyptian banking system was able to reform itself and overcome its crises.
He noted that this year’s conference highlights the Egyptian president’s interest in digital transformation through addressing bureaucracy and corruption.