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Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Egypt’s sovereign fund in talks for fresh agreements in fintech, financial inclusion

Sovereign fund in talks with investors in fintech, financial inclusion: The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) is in talks with unnamed investors with appetite for fintech and services that will promote financial inclusion, SFE chief executive Ayman Soliman said at a virtual presser yesterday. The fund, which is recalibrating its plans in light of the covid-19 pandemic, is finding that interest has been “revitalized” in this area. More investors now want to tap Egypt’s large unbanked population through digital services, especially as Egyptians have a new-found appreciation for e-payments, ecommerce, and services that offer solutions at a distance, Soliman said.

Look for news in the “near future” on the SFE’s pipeline, which includes investments in pharma manufacturing, healthcare services, logistics, food processing, agriculture, and fintech and banking, and the fund is currently setting up four sub-funds, with one for healthcare and pharma among its top priorities.

Healthcare, in particular, will require “significant investment” going forward, Soliman added. He noted that the sub fund will be majority owned by a private-sector strategic investor with direct experience in the field. The move aims to help make Egypt a regional hub for medical tourism and pharma exports.

Other key takeaways:

  • Egyptian expats are particularly enthused about the SFE: Many who’ve lived in developed countries over the past years come equipped with fresh, progressive ideas and a tremendous willingness to invest.
  • Fund’s first financial statements were delayed due to pandemic: The fund’s first general assembly meeting to approve the SPE’s appointment of an auditor has been delayed due to the outbreak. The fund is committed to publishing its financial statements for FY2019 and will regularly report its earnings.
  • On investor appetite: The pandemic has weighed heavily on the services and tourism sector, so recently unveiled talks to move ahead with an overhaul of the Bab El Azab tourist site will therefore be moving slowly. The fund has primarily been getting increasing inquiries from investors interested in the lower-risk goods and infrastructure sectors.

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