IFC invests $30 million into payment infrastructure across MENA
The investment will allow MSMEs to access card-based payments and develop digital data records.The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group and the IFC Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Fund have announced a $30 million indirect equity investment to fund expansion of payment infrastructure in the MENA region. The $30 million investment fund is to acquire indirect stakes in Network International, which is jointly controlled by the Emirates NBD Bank and Warburg Pincus/General Atlantic consortium. Through this, the company will expand and modernise its banking client network in the MENA region by developing electronic channels, improve their level of service and expand their reach into underserved segments, boosting financial inclusion. Bassel Hamwi, Head of the IFC Middle East and North Africa Fund said, "Network International is well positioned to offer affordable and innovative solutions to merchants, banks and consumers, strengthening the payment infrastructure. A shared infrastructure brings down costs and boosts financial inclusion, while reducing the risk of fraud." Andi Dervishi, Global Head of IFC's Fintech Investment Group said, "the company will help modernise banks by developing shared electronic channels with an improved level of service and deeper reach into underserved populations, while improving transparency and reducing money laundering, tax evasion and terrorist financing." The investment will allow micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to access card-based payments and develop digital data records, to help them grow their customer base. The expansion will also promote cross-regional integration of the financial and payment infrastructure. This development from IFC is part of a broader strategy in the Middle East and North Africa to address long-term development challenges and increase employment opportunities through the private sector.