The Agricultural Bank of Egypt (ABE) is currently pursuing a strategy aimed at expanding electronic payments, under the National Council for Payments’ and the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) directions to support financial inclusion in Egypt.
ABE Chairperson Alaa Farouk has revealed that the bank aims to install a wide network of electronic points of sale (POS) at establishments and companies operating in the agricultural sector. This will see an estimated 25,000 POS terminals installed nationwide in the first stage.
Farouk told Daily News Egypt that the ABE is currently cooperating with the local e-payment platform, Fawry, in the field of collecting bills, through 241 POS terminals. The bank is also working with the digital payments developer, e-finance, to disburse salaries and pensions to farmers, through 1,200 POS units.
He added that the ABE’s Farmer Card comes as part of its cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, to automate the process of agricultural lands possession. A cooperation protocol has been signed between the ABE, the Ministry of Agriculture, and e-finance to introduce the Farmer Card system.
The bank has already delivered about 685,000 Farmer Cards in the governorates of Sharqeya, Gharbeya, Beheira, Port Said, Assiut, and Sohag.
As for prepaid cards, Farouk said the ABE has issued more than 1.6m Meeza cards addressing several segments of customers. The move comes in line with the National Council for Payments’ strategy to reduce cash transactions in the local market, and attract new segments of customers to the banking system.
Farouk noted that these efforts aim to transform Egypt into a cashless society, whilst also applying social distancing to preserve public health.
Moreover, in the coming period, the Farmer Card will be merged with the prepaid Meeza Card, in coordination between the CBE and the Ministry of Agriculture. The move is designed to provide payment services and agricultural land possession services through one card.
Farouk said that preparations are also underway to issue the first mobile wallet for the agricultural sector. This will provide financial services to a large segment of the informal sector in the Egyptian countryside that do not have bank accounts.