By: Egypt Independent
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, on Monday launched a program supporting the development of Egypt’s fintech space. The project will help startups extend crucial financial services; it comes as part of IFC’s efforts to support Egyptian innovation and entrepreneurship.
The two-year program will support two private sector fintech-focused accelerators improve their offerings to startups in fields such as mentorship, business development and technical training in order to help them attract investor funding. It will be implemented jointly by Pride Capital/Startup Bootcamp, Egypt’s first international venture capital fund focused on financial technology, and the AUC Venture Lab housed at the American University in Cairo–Egypt’s first university-based incubator. Both accelerators possess extensive experience in the financial technology, or fintech, space.
“Through this newly established partnership with IFC, the Startupbootcamp Pride FinTech Cairo program is creating a top-notch pipeline of startups. It is giving entrepreneurs access to unparalleled expertise and a network of industry professionals. Our work has helped drive innovation in areas like microfinance, payments, person-to-person lending, consumer banking, and identity authentication, demonstrating the impact that can be achieved by supporting Egyptian entrepreneurs,” said Rami El Dokany, Chief Executive Officer of Pride Capital.
“Over the past three years, AUC Venture Lab has accelerated 23 early-stage startups working in the area of financial technologies through its FinTech Accelerator Program,” said Dr. Sherif Kamel, Dean of AUC School of Business. “This new partnership between the School of Business and IFC will help us extend our support to more innovative startups in this rapidly evolving industry, and to maximize our impact on the Egyptian economy towards broader financial inclusion.”
Fintech could reshape the banking industry as it grows rapidly in light of the Government’s commitment to financial inclusion. There are approximately 45 active fintech startups in Egypt, a number expected to increase. This is important in Egypt, where only 32 percent of individuals aged 21 years and older have a bank account. Innovative solutions like mobile payments and online banking provide easy and affordable access to financial services. By supporting innovative fintech startups, the program aspires to support IFC’s efforts to expand financial inclusion across the country.
“With the right support, entrepreneurs can create much-needed jobs and develop technology that makes life better for people across the country,” said Walid Labadi, IFC Country Manager for Egypt, Libya and Yemen. “This program will help unlock the potential of young entrepreneurs and lay the foundation for an ecosystem that supports innovation in the financial services industry.”
The program also complements the World Bank Group’s ongoing efforts to enhance and improve the environment for digital finance to support the growth of the fintech startups in Egypt. It is supported by IFC’s development partners; Germany’s Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW); Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and the Netherlands’ Ministry for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.