International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has announced $6 million investment in Fawry, Egypt’s leading electronic payment provider, in an effort to promote financial services and encourage economic development across the country.
IFC’s investment will help Fawry embark on expanding its network of payment terminals across the country to make and receive payment of bills for customers and business respectively. The country heavily relies on cumbersome cash transactions.
Fawry’s CEO, Ashraf Sabry, admitted that a lot has to be done because “there are a lot of inefficiencies associated with cash, which is used in about 99% of all household transactions in Egypt.” He added that “electronic payments make it easier to do business and, in a country with a large population and very low banking penetration, they are also a key driver of financial inclusion.”
Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC’s regional director for Middle East and North Africa said the country’s economy has been on its back heels for the past two years. He said “companies like Fawry can help the economy by creating jobs and demonstrating to investors that there is a long-term potential in the country.” Investors are skeptical while waiting for IMF’s loan approval.
IFC’s $6 million investment is aimed at restoring the confidence of investors in Egypt and to create employment. Fawry is planning to expand its payment locations to 35,000 by 2016.
It has more than 10 million users and 43 service providers. It also possesses more than 20,000 payment locations, including retail stores, post offices, and the ATMs of 10 commercial banks. The company provides a convenient one-stop destination where customers can make regular payments to telecoms companies, utilities, charities, financial services firms, and tour operators.