Fawry, an electronic payment network, is one of the most prominent companies expected to play a important role in the implementation of the state strategy for digital transformation. The company integrates efficient and easy e-finance solutions with existing information systems of companies and government institutions, providing real-time registration and completion of transactions, and follow-up of all operations carried out through the institution of company’s electronic portal.
Daily News Egypt interviewed Mohamed Okasha, managing director of Fawry, to learn about the future of companies that rely on financial technology in light of the state’s plan for digital transformation of the country.
How do you see the role of financial technology in supporting digital transformation? And what are the chances of achieving digital transformation in Egypt?
Digital transformation can only be achieved through financial technology. The strategy of the state and the Central Bank of Egypt for financial inclusion shows many opportunities in the Egyptian market in this area, supported by the demographic distribution of the population and the number of Internet users. These add up to about 45 million users, and 85 million users of mobile phones, of which 50% using smart phones, and 35 million users of social networks. The spread of mobile phones and the internet helps provide comprehensive digital payment services.
Despite the rise in the number of payment cards issued by banks to over 25m cards, the predominant use of about 90% of them is cash withdrawal from ATMs, which confirms the huge opportunities in the market of electronic payment.
The poor local access to a POS [point of sale] and ATMs when compared to international rates emphasises the need for more providers of payment services and banking services in order to increase access to financial services for the targeted segments and achieve financial inclusion.
How would Fawry benefit from digital transformation and financial technology in developing the non-banking financial sector?
The state is taking many steps towards digital transformation and electronic payment, which will positively affect the development of the services provided by the company. Fawry can benefit from this by strengthening its technological infrastructure, which includes the electronic payment platform and mobile applications in addition to the main and alternative hosting centres, through expanding its services via alternative channels, including 100,000 outlets, 30 banks, and e-wallets customers of mobile operators. This is in line with the government’s recent strategy to shift from an economy based on cash payments to a modern system, where cash payments represent a small part of transactions.
Electronic payment systems in government departments has evolved considerably during the past period and will witness a more gradual and significant progression in the future. It is an excellent step to spread financial inclusion and digital transformation, which would help eliminate corruption and facilitate procedures for citizens.
Fawry carries out more than 2.5m transactions per day including payments, collections, settlements, contracts, and new subscriptions.
What are the features of Fawry’s expansion plan?
Our future plan includes the development of new services so that we can provide added value for customers, including individuals, traders, companies, and financial institutions. The company plans to launch a new service early 2020, namely the micro insurance brokerage service. Both the marketing of this product and the payment of its instalments will be done electronically. Fawry has vast and varied POS channels that enable it to contribute significantly to the sector. This activity will be carried out in cooperation with insurance companies that offer this product.
The future plan of the company also includes expanding electronic payments and complementary services. We aim to add new channels and services, and market the current services to attract new clients in utilities, education, clubs, syndicates, transportation, and other sectors.
Fawry further aims to expand into microfinance by increasing the size of the funds for retail traders, so that they can increase the size of their dealings using the e-collection service Fawry provides to these companies.
How much investment will Fawry inject in the coming period?
Fawry has a strategy to invest EGP 250-300m per year from the company’s own resources, which reflects the high financial solvency of the company. The new liquidity will be directed to developing and expanding our services, which currently include up to 565 services.