Financial Inclusion and E-Commerce
In a region characterised by a young population and widespread smartphone usage, rapid technology migration is fuelling greater financial inclusion and the expansion of e-commerce in the MENA region. While e-commerce sales currently account for less than 2% of all retail sales in the Middle East, the sector is growing at an estimated 30% a year (McKinsey & Company, 2016). Amazon’s recent acquisition of Souq.com underlines the huge growth potential of the region and the strategic importance of digital to the local retail ecosystem. Moreover, mobile money continues to improve financial inclusion in MENA, and there are now 20 live services in 10 markets. Mobile money is having a significant impact enabling efficient and convenient payments and international money transfer, particularly for the 60% of the population without access to formal financial services. Financial regulation will be key to expanding the possibility of non-bank mobile money services. This session will highlight the status of mobile money and e-commerce services in the Middle East and North Africa, demonstrating the profound social impact that such services are having upon populations in this region.