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Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Central bank working on new financial inclusion strategy -Amer

A national strategy for financial inclusion is in the works at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), Governor Tarek Amer said during the Cairo ICT expo, according to Al Mal. The central bank and state statistics agency Capmas are working with an international financial inclusion expert on a study to identify gaps in the financial services market, Amer said, without providing further details.

It’s not clear how this will differ from the strategy unveiled by the CBE in 2019, which centers on strengthening its regulatory and supervisory role in the banking sector through legislative amendments such as the Banking Act, raising awareness on financial inclusion, enhancing the business environment through SME support, and promoting the use of fintech.

In other financial inclusion plans: The CBE plans to issue 20 mn Meeza cards, Amer said, without specifying a timeline for the rollout. Five mn of the cards will be dedicated to salary payments, 6.5 mn to pensions, 5 mn for people with disabilities, and 3.5 mn as part of the Takaful and Karama welfare programs. The Finance Ministry said last month it plans to roll out 5 mn Meeza salary cards by June 2021.

Egypt has been pushing financial inclusion for the last several years: The National Payments Council had passed a number of resolutions in 2017 setting up frameworks for mobile payments in the country and curbing cash transactions within the government, resulting in the 2018 Accounting Act which legally enshrined the transition towards a cashless economy. The E-payments Act issued last year obliging government and private sector entities to pay subsidiaries and suppliers electronically also constituted a significant push towards the government’s aim of going cashless.

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