2019 has been an exciting year here at PAYFORT and for our Egyptian team it just got even better. PAYFORT has recently been awarded The Most Innovative Online Payment Service Provider – Egypt 2019 by International Finance Magazine.
The award program, which aims to identify companies that have achieved exceptional success in their local community, country or business category, reinforces our company’s continued focus on Egypt as a critical market for the future of digital payments.
This week, in celebration with our most recent success, we’ll be taking a brief look at the Egyptian payment landscape and highlighting how the country is making the push towards becoming a truly cashless society.
Egypt’s Ecommerce Market Fuels Interest in Digital Payments
Egypt is home to the highest number of Internet users in the Arab world. With over half the population online, the country has over 48 million users and represents a massive market in the world of ecommerce.
Since the late 1990s, when some of the first Egyptian-owned e-commerce companies were founded, the country’s e-commerce market has been growing at a steady pace. Now in 2019, the market is largely dominated by one of the biggest ecommerce giants, Souq.com with over 450 smaller online retailers covering various niche markets.
With a consumer market of more than 90 million people – and approx. 60 per cent of who are younger than 30 years of age – Egypt’s ecommerce industry has a lot of room to grow as more of the population continues to get online.
A Cash Centric Society Moving to Financial Inclusion
Despite a growing ecommerce industry, Egypt continues to a cash centric society with 72% of customers using cash for at least some of their eCommerce purchases. Thankfully, Egypt is quite aware of the consequences of such a dependence on cash transactions and they have recently taken significant steps towards cashless payments.
As defined by the World Bank Group, financial inclusion entails that “individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs—transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance—delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.”
With this mission in mind, in early 2018 “meeza” was introduced in Egypt as a financial inclusion initiative from the Egyptian government to push towards cashless payments. Later on this year as well, PAYFORT announced that its merchants will now be able to accept meeza as Egypt’s new national debit card.
With a strong push from the government towards a cashless society, Egypt clearly sees value in creating a more inclusive financial system. Over the past several years the Egyptian government has been eager to encourage growth in the FinTech sector and is continuing to look for innovation in the payment methods landscape.
In 2019, Egypt remains a cash-based economy but the demand for the next wave of payment technologies is strong. With innovation fuelled by government investment and private industry, Egypt is poised to move beyond the limitations of cash society and become one of the region’s leading powers in the world of digital payments.