Visa inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Egyptian Banks Company (EBC), the technology arm of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), to streamline and improve the process of international remittances for Egyptians residing overseas, the financial services announced in a press release shared with Egyptian Streets on 11 February.
“This strategic partnership is aimed towards enhancing the scope of instant payments and streamlining the reception of international remittances from Egyptian expatriates,” reads the press statement.
The collaboration aims to leverage Visa’s “cutting-edge digital financial services and expertise” with EBC’s “advanced technological infrastructure” to provide Egyptians abroad with innovative solutions for electronic payment services, digital wallets, and more.
EBC serves as the country’s operator for its national payment networks and ecosystems – developing payment system infrastructure, digitising government payments, enhancing financial inclusion, and bolstering the transition to a cashless economy.
The company is most known for managing the Instant Payments Network (IPN) and InstaPay, Egypt’s most popular money transfer service application.
The agreement encompasses two key initiatives. The first involves the integration of a service into the InstaPay application, enabling customers to seamlessly transfer funds from Visa-linked accounts outside Egypt into domestic accounts through the IPN. The second initiative focuses on working with banks and financial institutions to allow transfers to Egyptian accounts through the IPN’s phone number or username directory.
“Remittances from Egyptian expatriates play a pivotal role in the national income and foreign currency inflow, providing vital support to countless families in Egypt and abroad,” Leila Serhan, Senior Vice President for North Africa, Levant, and Pakistan at Visa said in the press release.
“Egypt’s large diaspora, spanning numerous countries, underscores its position as the fifth largest recipient of remittances globally. The export of Egyptian talent and expertise abroad not only generates foreign currency but also supports the domestic economy,” she added.
Since the onset of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022, remittances to Egypt have declined significantly. While there has been a gradual recovery in recent months, remittances still lag behind their pre-war levels – dropping by 15 percent in 2023.
Tarek Raouf, the Executive Chairman and CEO of EBC, also noted the positive impact IPN and InstaPay have had in increasing financial inclusion across the country, and the service’s potential to help revive remittances.
“Both entities will work together to provide innovative digital solutions to global users of the application, ultimately increasing financial inflows into Egypt and stimulating long-term economic growth”, Raouf remarked.
While not mentioned in the press release, remittances are Egypt’s biggest source of foreign currency. In 2023 alone, the country amassed USD 24.2 billion (EGP 747.8 billion) in remittances – with a Cabinet strategy to increase that number by 10 percent annually until 2030.
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