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Thursday, 26 October 2017

Ezz Al Arab talks fintech, Big Data, and cashless society at Yahoo Finance’s All Market Summit

CIB Chairman and Managing Director Hisham Ezz Al Arab discussed the rise of fintech in Egypt during his appearance at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit, which took place yesterday in New York City. In a one-on-one interview headlined “Banking in the Future,” Ezz Al Arab talked to the audience about how Egypt’s goal of transitioning to a cashless society with a 100% banking penetration rate is being aided by the collaborative efforts of banks, fintech players, mobile operators, and the like. With a current penetration rate of c. 25%, “virtual banking” has a lot of room to expand in an emerging market like Egypt, he said, explaining that the government is taking serious steps towards financial inclusion with the creation of the National Payments Council and the CBE’s Financial Inclusion Unit.

“Fintechs in Africa are filling a gap rather than disrupting a model,” Ezz Al Arab added, explaining that CIB, for example, hosts Fawry’s e-payment services on its ATMs and cash management application CIB Wallet. Another example is CIB’s recent agreement with ride-hailing app Careem to streamline their cash flow management using software that covers everything from customer payments to drivers’ expenses and payments. Microfinance firms also use CIB Wallet to connect with a wider segment of clients, Ezz Al Arab added.

CIB is one of the few banks in the region that utilizes tech and “Big Data” to develop the banking sector and enhance overall customer experience, he also said. He explained that CIB uses data analytics for almost everything, from determining branches’ working hours to predicting customers’ individual needs.

When asked about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, Ezz Al Arab only said that “blockchain technology … will change the face of the world” as it develops over the coming years. As for security and user protection concerns, there’s always a certain amount of “manageable risk” when it comes to the digital world, he added.

Hisham was the only participant from MENA at the global summit, which also included CEOs and CIOs from BlackRock, Samsung, JP Morgan, the National Hockey League, Accenture and Aetna, among others. You can watch the full event here (runtime 8:01:36) or scroll forward to 5:30:45 to catch Hisham’s interview.

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