Fawry for Banking & Payment Technology Services SAE, an Egyptian digital payments provider, was listed on Cairo’s exchange about a year back. The company recently experienced a 300% increase in its market value to 20 billion Egyptian pounds (appr. $1.3 billion).
The payments firm confirmed that its valuation has grown 4x since the COVID-19 outbreak in late February 2020. As first reported by Bloomberg, Fawry is now ranked among Egypt’s 10 most valuable firms, which include Telecom Egypt Co. and Elswedy Electric Co. However, these businesses are generating a lot more revenue compared to Fawry for now.
Many locals in Egypt are still settling transactions with cash payments, despite the Coronavirus crisis which has made it unsafe to handle paper currency notes. However, the nation’s reserve bank has asked lending platforms and other financial service providers to encourage residents to make digital payments via mobile wallets. The central bank also wants Egyptians to use online payment platforms like Fawry in order to limit physical contact, so that the virus doesn’t spread further.
Allen Sandeep, research director at Cairo’s Naeem Holding, stated that the shares in Fawry may have surged because of “hopes of exponential growth from the digital payments sector in Egypt, which until now is still significantly under-penetrated.”
Nearly a third or over 30% of Egyptians 15 years and older have opened bank accounts with financial institutions, which is below the world average, according to recent data from the World Bank. Almost all utility payments are paid using cash in the country which has a population of around 100 million and a GDP of over $250 billion.
Fawry offers services in 166,500 different locations which includes retail outlets throughout Egypt.
As reported in August 2020, the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), the country’s largest bank, introduced new services to support digital banking following the COVID-19 outbreak. Also in August, Cairo-based Fintech firm Paymob confirmed it was allowing SMEs to launch e-commerce sites, while being able to add online payments via digital and offline channels.
Fintech expert Mohamed Okasha from Egypt recommended in June 2020 that the country needs more specialized funds, specifically for financial technology development.