Egypt's fintech innovators pick up speed
7 October 2016
There is new hope for Egypt’s large unbanked population thanks to recently formed financial technology (fintech) accelerators and the launch of services to bring people into the banking sector. Among recent developments, savings app Feloosy is matching savers with banking partners (see box). Also, in May, Cairo-based innovation hub Flat6Labs launched a fintech incubator called the 1864 Accelerator in partnership with Barclays Bank Egypt, whose year of establishment in Egypt gave the name to the new project. The American University in Cairo and Commercial International Bank started their own fintech accelerator in July. With just 10% of the Egyptian population having access to bank accounts, there is a lot of work to be done.
A burgeoning and diverse field across the globe, fintech has exploded over the past two years. According to a study by the World Economic Forum, equity investment into fintech companies rose from $4bn in 2013 to more than $12bn in 2014. Startups that provide tech-enabled financial solutions are out to disrupt existing and often stale financial systems with more agile solutions that facilitate purchases or offer innovative financial management platforms.
Local fintech already has some success stories. First among them is Fawry, an Egyptian electronic payment company founded in 2009, which sold a majority stake to a consortium of investors for $100m in November 2015. Fawry kiosks and point-of-sale (POS) devices allow consumers to pay their electricity bills and traffic violation fines. The company plans to operate 600,000 POS terminals by the end of the year and already processes more than 1m transactions per day.
Source: The African Report 29 September 2016