CAIRO, Egypt, February 5, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing in Fawry, Egypt’s leading electronic payment provider, in an effort to extend crucial financial services and encourage economic development across the country.
The $6 million investment will help Fawry, a local company, extend its network of payment terminals across Egypt, a country heavily reliant on cumbersome cash transactions. That is expected to help consumers pay bills and make it easier for businesses to receive payments, stoking commerce and economic growth.
“There are a lot of inefficiencies associated with cash, which is used in about 99 percent of all household transactions in Egypt,” said Ashraf Sabry, Fawry CEO. “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.”
The investment is also designed to help restore investor confidence in Egypt and create jobs in its burgeoning high-tech sector.
“Egypt’s economy has struggled during the last two years,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Companies like Fawry can help the economy by creating jobs and demonstrating to investors that there is a long-term potential in the country.”
Fawry offers Egyptians a convenient one-stop destination where they can make regular payments to telecoms companies, utilities, charities, financial services firms, and tour operators. More than 10 million people use Fawry to make payments to 43 service providers. The company has more than 20,000 payment locations, including retail stores, post offices, and the ATMs of 10 commercial banks. With IFC’s support, Fawry is planning to increase its number of payment locations to 35,000 by 2016.
The investment is part of IFC’s efforts to catalyze foreign investment in Egypt, support the private sector, and drive job creation. In the 2012 fiscal year, IFC committed $506 million to seven local projects, a figure that includes $125 million mobilized from other investors. IFC has over $1 billion invested in the country.