A recent report issued by Payfort showed that the prevalence rate of smartphones in the Egyptian market reached 23%. The rate of bank customers compared to the total population reached 14%, added the report of financial technology in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
According to the report, Egypt is fifth among the spread of smartphones, behind Lebanon, where the prevalence rate of smartphones reached 48%, followed by Jordan, which has a prevalence rate of smartphones by 30%, followed by 27% in Tunisia, 25% in Morocco, 22% in Algeria, and 17% in Iraq.
The report showed a boom in the amount of investments received by startups in the field of financial services technology in the MENA region in 2016 compared to 2015. The number of investment transactions during 2015 reached seven transactions with investments of $15m, while the number of transactions during 2016 reached 10 transactions with investments worth $20m.
Nevertheless, startups are expected haul investments of $50m in 2017. The report is expected to bring the number of startups in the field of financial services technology to 250 companies in the MENA region by 2020.
Moreover, Payfort said that 34% of Egyptian financial service startups offer their services outside Egypt’s borders, putting Egypt in the third ranking after the UAE, in which 44% of startups are also operating outside the borders, and Jordan, where 39% of startups have external operations.
The report also indicated that the international growth in the field of financial technology pushed global startups to expand in the MENA region, noting that there are 20 startups from the US and Europe that offer services in the MENA area.
A survey was conducted by Payfort of business leaders in the MENA region on competition with international companies, showing that 44% of the respondents saw competition as difficult with international startups, whereas 17% saw it as very difficult and 39% felt it was somewhat easy.
According to the World Bank’s 2014 indicators, 63% of small and medium-sized enterprises in MENA cannot access funding, and the gap in financing small and medium-sized enterprises has reached $240bn.
Only 10% of startup companies are actually emerging, while, 43% of investments in emerging companies in 2016, amounting to $61m, went to financial technology companies, according to the report.
Egypt accounts for 16% of the startup companies in the field of financial services technology, after the UAE, which accounts for 29% of emerging technology companies, 14% for Jordan, and 12% for North African countries.