Egypt sets up $57 million fintech startup fund
Source: ITWeb Africa
Fintech startups in Egypt could soon have access to 1 billion Egyptian pounds (approximately US$57-million) after the country's government set up a fund via the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).
According to the CBE the fund will support research into fintech as well as start-up companies focused on digital finance.
The objective is to position Egypt has a regional centre for electronic financial services said the finance institution.
Ayman Hussein, Deputy Governor of the CBE in charge of Payment Systems and Information Technology, made the announcement while speaking at the Arab African Forum in Aswan, Egypt, on a panel discussing to the impact of financial technology and innovation on Africa.
Hussein said the CBE is striving to ensure the development of financial technology in Egypt by creating a financial technology unit.
"We are also creating a new application laboratory for innovative financial technologies which would be used to test new applications," he said.
Hussein also mentioned plans to launch a cybersecurity centre for the banking sector by the end of 2019, responsible to deal with cybersecurity threats and incidents.
Hussein said: "Egypt has the success factors that have made it a pioneer in the financial technology sector, including the strong demand for financial services, the banking sector, telecommunications companies, electronic payment companies, insurance companies, regulators, incubators, business accelerators, investors and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) financial."
While Egypt has the largest population in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, only 14 per cent of the adult population has a bank account, according to the World Bank Global Findex.
The North African country has one of the largest mobile telecom markets in Africa, with effective competition and a penetration rate of approximately 105 per cent.
The main challenges facing fintech start-ups include funding, the ability/ capacity to create partnerships with banks and reaching the unbanked sector.