What is a key ingredient in the evolution of Egypt’s economy? Digitalisation of banking services. This was the clear message from expert speakers at HSBC's Digital Summit Egypt 2018 at the Sofitel Cairo Nile El Gezira on the 3 October 2018. One of Africa’s biggest economies has already taken huge strides; a journey that HSBC is proud to support.
There is massive room for the development of new technologies in Egypt, which is why the government and the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) are focusing extensively on enhancing the banking model. The system is becoming more customer centric, more inclusive and technology oriented. A new era of seamless banking that puts customers’ preferences front and center is fast gaining pace.
Jacques Emmanuel Blanchet, CEO of HSBC Bank Egypt
Strong attendance at the event included leading corporates representing a cross section of Egypt’s economy and valuable insights from Khaled Nassef, Minister's Assistant for Information Technology, Ministry of Finance, Thibaud Weick, CEO of Mortimer Harvey and Noor Adhami, Regional Head of Global Liquidity and Cash Management for HSBC MENAT, among many other esteemed participants. The results of thought-provoking surveys that revealed delegates’ views on the latest digital trends are illustrated below.
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Since HSBC opened its doors in Cairo in 1982 and deployed the country’s first ATMs, the bank’s pioneering attitude to customer relationships and technology has focused on providing the intimacy of local banking on an international scale. This is a meaningful blend; Egypt is a cash-based economy where the majority still pay their utilities bills in cash, yet it is also a major Arab economy with global alliances.
Egypt is a major player in the Middle East and Africa with deepening ties worldwide. A country with such growth prospects would benefit hugely from an increasingly streamlined and digital banking ecosystem. This must be the future.
Helmy Ghazi, Head of Global Banking, HSBC Egypt
Now, the country’s banking trends are embarking on a new and more modern route – while preserving this historic balance. Nearly two thirds (65%) of today’s population is under thirty five years’ old, with a staggering mobile penetration rate of almost 100%. Yet, there are only 38 million internet users and only 8% use the internet for e-commerce. Just 4% of HSBC customers use the bank’s digital solutions to pay their monthly bills, such as water, gas, electricity. Consider this against the fact that what is already the most populated Arab country with 97 million people will be home to 23% more people by 2030, with 120 million residents, according to the United Nations (UN). Clearly, potential for the digital growth of the country’s banking sector to accelerate efficiency and increase choice, abounds.
Egypt is on a massive digitisation drive towards a target of ultimately achieving a “cashless” society and economy. Mobile wallets, digital payments and e-commerce are growing exponentially in our country, which has 65% of its population under the age of 35. Since November 2017, there has been an initiative by the government to map all incoming and outgoing payments (such as salaries, benefits and taxes ) to being fully electronic. We are 60-70% there and hope that by 2019, all governments payments will be online.
Khaled Nassef, Minister's Assistant for Information Technology, Ministry of Finance
President Sisi is chairing the National Payments Council to put a general framework to shift to a less cash-based society and to create a national system of payment and cards, while CBE is investing heavily for developing a ‘seamless’ customer experience. This includes the promotion of innovative technologies in the design and delivery of financial services, including the review of Digital Banking regulations and the launch of a fund for innovation and investment in talents and startups worth EGP 1 billion (approximately $59 million). Amid such positive change, the bank-customer relationship must be continually nurtured.
Brands who do it right become the heroes of their customers’ community. This forms the strongest of bonds between service providers and customers. If your customers value the service and experience you offer them, they will have a deep-rooted appreciation of the brand and will want to do more and more business with you.
Thibaud Weick, CEO, Mortimer Harvey
Each customer is different and so their preferred touch points differ. It may be online, via a call center or a face-to-face chat. One size will not fit all; services must be tailored.
Digitisation also strengthens visibility, which again is vital to deepening trust in bank-customer relationships. Digital channels that both the bank and customer can openly access promote a collaborative and sharing culture. Gone are the days of rummaging through piles of paperwork in a drawer; a few clicks of a button now reveal the inner workings of banking. This bolsters co-creation, decentralisation and dialogue – each essential to improving efficiency and bolstering growth in Egypt’s banking sector.
Collaborations within Egypt's banking sector, including with FinTech companies and digital infrastructure specialists, are integral to accelerating progress. Working together means HSBC has been able to improve its offering quickly, resulting in greater speed and efficiency for its clients.
Noor Adhami, Regional Head of Global Liquidity and Cash Management for HSBC MENAT
This is just the beginning. A recent HSBC Navigator report said more than a third of service businesses worldwide believe that the greater use of technology will be their main driver for trade growth in the years ahead. HSBC and its Egyptian partners are in the front ‘carriage’ of this global train as it speeds – affordably and sustainably – towards a digital future.