Reda Helal, Group Managing Director of Processing Business – Africa and Co-Head of Group Processing at Network International, has announced that the company plans to invest approximately EGP 1bn in the Egyptian market to expand its investments. These investments will focus on developing the digital technology sector and providing a comprehensive and integrated package of payment solutions supported by modern technologies for merchants and financial institutions of all sizes and types. Additionally, a portion of the investments will be allocated to developing local talent, to increase the number of employees in Egypt from the current 700 to 1500.
Network International was established in Dubai in 1994 and initially served the UAE market. Over time, the company expanded into the Gulf market and later expanded further beyond the Gulf.
Helal emphasised the importance of Egypt in driving Network International’s growth. The company has established itself as a leading acquisition company in the UAE and Jordan over the years and is now expanding its expertise in the Egyptian market. With nearly 25 years of presence in Egypt, Network International aims to seize growth opportunities in the country and support the Central Bank of Egypt’s strategy for a cashless economy in line with Egypt’s Vision 2030.
He highlighted that Network International offers products and solutions to 26 banks in the Egyptian market, as well as collaborating with Fintech, MNOs, and merchants. He emphasised that the company has achieved strong performance in Egypt recently, thanks to its well-established position as a leading institution in providing payment processing outsourcing services. Additionally, they have launched a direct payment service to merchants and have already contracted with approximately 1000 merchants, including Tradeline, Apple’s authorised distributors. Their goal is to reach 100,000 merchants within two years, which demonstrates the growth of the digital payment field in Egypt and the strength of their expanding offerings.
Furthemore, Network Pay simplifies payments for merchants, Helal emphasised, allowing them to accept electronic payments through traditional and digital channels. This provides a fast, secure, and convenient way to conduct transactions. The direct payment services to merchants in Egypt present a great opportunity for Network International to increase its revenues, leveraging its strong presence as a leading provider of payment processing services in the country.
He also mentioned the company’s ambitions in the Egyptian market, with plans to introduce new solutions and products in various geographical areas within the country. He highlighted Egypt as the main centre for managing the company’s operations in Africa, covering over 40 countries in Africa through their office in Egypt. They also have offices in South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Ghana to provide services across all African countries, serving more than 220 customers.
He mentioned that “Network International” has a strategic focus on high-growth sectors, specifically small and medium enterprises, online payments, and hospitality. The company offers around 200 products and services that cater to the banking sector. These include various types of bank cards (credit, debit, and prepaid), as well as point-of-sale machines (PoS) and ATM systems. Their comprehensive End-to-end work system encompasses both hardware and software solutions for electronic payments.
He emphasised that the increasing awareness of modern banking services has led to a wider adoption of different types of cards (credit, prepaid, and debit), thereby promoting financial inclusion.
Helal commended the efforts of the Egyptian government and the Central Bank of Egypt in promoting financial inclusion and digital transformation. He highlighted Egypt’s significant progress in transitioning to a digital economy and achieving financial inclusion. Over the past years, the country has witnessed remarkable growth in the financial technology industry, providing accessible and convenient solutions to all citizens and supporting the transition to a cashless society.
He mentioned that the Egyptian government has announced a comprehensive plan to establish Egypt as a regional hub for the financial technology industry in the Arab region and Africa. This includes the establishment of the National Council for Payments, headed by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, which sets the overall framework for the transition to a cashless society. The plan encompasses the development of a national payment card system and the implementation of a legislative and regulatory framework to enhance electronic payment services and financial technology.
He further explained that fintech systems can significantly reduce global financial institutions’ expenses by nearly $40bn. Additionally, financial technology can support governments in improving the efficiency and competitiveness of their systems.
Moreover, he highlighted that financial technologies are introducing concepts that challenge traditional practices in financial projects. He emphasised that these technologies have the potential to improve the performance and productivity of financial institutions by up to 50%.
He stressed the need for incentives to support fintech companies. These incentives can include initiatives from payment systems and service providers to facilitate access to services for individuals and merchants. Additionally, offering financial incentives such as reducing initial financial barriers and launching initiatives with competitive pricing will encourage the growth of fintech companies and contribute to the expansion of the financial services sector and financial inclusion.
Helal stated that Network International aims to expand its electronic service offerings to the banking sector and companies in the financial technology industry. This expansion aligns with Egypt’s vision and strategy for digital transformation in 2030, which is being implemented by the Egyptian government. The goal is also to attract skilled professionals who can contribute to advancing the digital transformation of electronic payments and bring global expertise to Egyptian professionals.
He also mentioned that legalising the informal economy can enhance economic stability. He emphasised that small and medium enterprises play a crucial role in the growth of the Egyptian economy. Therefore, developing transparent, seamless, and secure digital payment solutions is essential to meet the needs of different companies.
Regarding the company’s financial results, Helal stated that Network International had a strong performance in the first half of 2023. The company announced its preliminary financial results for the six months ending on June 30, 2023, revealing a 19% increase in revenues. This growth can be attributed to the accelerating digital payments growth in key markets, the successful implementation of our growth strategy, and our competitive product and service offerings.
Network International also experienced positive developments in the UAE, with consistent gains in market share for direct payments to merchants from 2022 to 2023. This progress can be attributed to the company’s ongoing focus on rapidly growing strategic areas such as SMEs, payments and internet, and the hospitality sector.