$30m IFC Investment to Improve Payment Solutions for MSMEs in MENA

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IFC and its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Fund have announced a combined indirect equity investment of $30 million in payment solutions provider Network International, to expand the payment infrastructure in the MENA region.

The investment, of $15 million each, will help the company expand and modernize its regional banking client network by enabling it develop electronic channels, improve its level of service and expand its reach into underserved segments, boosting financial inclusion.

Credit card, debit card and ATM penetration in the Middle East and Africa is the lowest globally with 97 of all transactions still cash-based and only 0.25 cards per adult.

Only 31 per cent of the population is banked while more than 30 million micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSMEs) are underserved or unserved.

Bassel Hamwi, Head, IFC MENA Fund said, “Network International is well positioned to offer affordable and innovative solutions to merchants, banks and consumers, strengthening the payment infrastructure which when shared brings down costs and boosts financial inclusion and reduces the risk of fraud.”

Network International is a leading payment solutions provider that operates across 71 countries, servicing over 200 banks and more than 70, 000 merchants.

The IFC investment will enable MSMEs to access card-based payments and develop digital data records to help them grow their customer base.

It will also promote cross-regional integration of the financial and payment infrastructure.

According to Andi  Dervishi, Global Head, IFC’s Fintech Investment Group, Network International’s expansion will improve transparency, reduce money laundering, tax evasion and terrorist financing.

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