Ibrahim Sarhan, Chairperson and CEO of eFinance Investment Group, revealed the company’s plan to enter the Saudi market during the current year.
Sarhan added, in an interview with Daily News Egypt, that entering the Saudi market will take place in cooperation with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF). He indicated that investment opportunities will be discussed with representatives of the PIF Board of Directors this February.
PIF acquired 25% of the shares of e-finance” last year, making the Saudi Public Investment Fund one of the largest shareholders in the group.
He pointed out that the discussions with the PIF include the presence in several other countries, especially in which the fund is present, as well as benefiting from the aspects of support that it will provide at the technological and commercial levels.
Sarhan added that the fund seeks, through the partnership, to advance the growth of the group, focusing on supporting its pivotal role in digitizing the economy, as well as expanding its activities to various African markets.
e-Finance is looking forward to maximizing the benefit from the international investor base it enjoys to enter new African and Arab markets in the future.
He explained that the step aims to attract dollar liquidity, especially in light of the current circumstances. Sarhan indicated that the company relies on these expansions to provide foreign exchange, especially since it is now necessary.
He pointed out that the company was studying new investment opportunities in the African market. However, this step has been postponed for the time being, due to the Russian-Ukrainian war and its effects on the economies of the countries targeted for expansion.
He emphasized that the company was planning to enter Sudan, Libya, and Tunisia, in order to transfer digital experiences, and was in advanced stages of negotiations to automate some government agencies operating there.
Sarhan stressed that the company always aims to provide its services to government institutions at the beginning, especially as it plays a pivotal role in this part at the local level.
He indicated that these plans will be resumed once the economies of the target countries improve. Pointing out that positive indicators are emerging.
eCards, a subsidiary of the eFinance Investment Group, signed an agreement to digitize health care services through a 10-year contract to operate and manage smart cards for the medical system in Zimbabwe, in cooperation with Tres Groupe International (TGI).
Under the contract, eCards will provide system management services to more than 2 million beneficiaries by issuing prepaid cards with international specifications. This will be done by registering the beneficiary’s medical file and enabling him to pay for medical services using the card.
Sarhan said at the time that eCard seeks to cover the rest of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries in which TGI operates. In addition to the continued expansion of eFinance Investments and its subsidiaries in various African countries. This is based on the company’s extensive experience and various services in the areas of digital transformation and financial inclusion, which many countries across the continent seek to implement.
Sarhan revealed that the company plans to inject EGP 2bn of investments during the current and next years.
He added that the investment depends on several pillars, including human resources, competencies and experiences. He indicated finding talent and qualified personnel is one of the most difficult challenges for technology companies.
Sarhan added that the company has already injected part of those investments into cloud computing, which is one of the company’s priorities.
Moreover, eFinance injected other investments into the continuous development of technological infrastructure, whether for the company or its subsidiaries.
He stressed that the company always seeks growth, whether by developing its business and existing companies, by acquiring companies that support its model, or by integrating with subsidiaries.
He revealed that there are investment opportunities that are being studied for acquisition during the coming period.
Sarhan added that the group is focused on providing financial solutions for digital banks. It is currently working to obtain the necessary licenses from the Central Bank of Egypt to provide a strong and integrated infrastructure.
He added that the company has already provided digital solutions services to the fintech startup Nexta, and is negotiating with a number of institutions to provide them with the digital solutions required for digital banks.
He emphasized that the group attaches great importance to fintech in line with the Egyptian state’s directions for digital transformation and Egypt’s Vision 2030. This will in turn maximize the group’s assets and investments through a diversified portfolio in the field of financial technology.
He pointed out that the group participated in the creation of Nclude – an investment fund – to invest in fintech startups. These startups contribute to the development of the current and future direction of financial technology in Egypt.
The consolidated financial statements of eFinance showed a growth in the company’s profits by 84.5% during the first 9 months of 2022.
The profits of e-finance recorded EGP 691.5m from January to the end of September 2022, compared to EGP 374.8m in the comparative period of 2021.
The company’s revenues rose during the nine months to EGP 1.9bn, compared to EGP 1.2bn in the same period of the previous year.