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Egypt’s banks increase focus on consumer opportunity

Photo: Reuters

Egypt’s supportive regulation, together with the impact of Covid, saw cashless payments in the country grow by more than 230% last year. Now fintechs, banks and state-owned platforms all want a piece of the action.

Egypt’s banking industry and Cairo’s Natural History Museum have something in common, according to some in the country’s burgeoning fintech sector. “Dinosaurs” is how the founder of one startup firm describes some of the less innovative local lenders, when talking to Euromoney. But some of those dinosaurs are more evolved than they appear.

Egypt’s fintechs want more from the banks – more support, more partnerships and more funding – and there are clear signs that the industry is starting to deliver. Egypt’s financial sector, not traditionally distinguished by its speed, is evolving fast. It needs to, as the digital transformation of consumer finance in the country is well underway.

The pandemic accelerated the adoption of fintech solutions worldwide, but Egypt’s government was already making good headway in its push for a cashless society and the provision of digital financial services before Covid-19 hit. Its 2019 FinTech & Innovation Strategy gave shape and purpose to reform; and an entire chapter of Egypt’s new 2020 banking law focused on payment service providers and technology.

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