Dubai – MENA Herald: The future looks bright for the regional payment industry, declared Network International, the leading payment solutions provider in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), at its 9th User Conference, held recently in Rome, Italy.
Network International discussed emerging developments and opportunities in the MEA payment landscape at the three-day event, which convened over 130 industry practitioners from across the world. Delegates representing financial institutions, the company’s merchant partners, as well as retailers from across the MEA region engaged in lively discussion on the trends and outlook for further growth in regional payments industry.
Highlighting the immense growth potential of the MEA region, the company reported that it processed more than 600 million transactions in 2015, amounting to AED 91 billion in acquiring volume. The UAE is a clear front runner in a rapidly expanding regional payment environment as card transactions experienced an estimated 10 percent1 growth in 2015 compared to the previous year, amid a total 242 per cent growth in the MEA region, making it the fastest expansion rate in card transactions in the world.
In his welcome remarks, Bhairav Trivedi, CEO of Network International, said: “This is an exciting time for the Middle East and Africa payment industry. Under 25 per cent of transactions in the region are card-based, representing an unprecedented opportunity of over 75 per cent growth over the next seven years as increasing innovation in digital payments propels migration from cash to cards.”
Trivedi added, “In addition, in the UAE alone, buoyed by the spending capacity of a majority adult working expatriate demographic, combined with increasing tourist footfall, we anticipate that the growth in retail spends, currently standing at 15 per cent per year, to more than double in the next four years. These factors, supported by forward thinking government policy, contribute to a perfect storm in the regional payment landscape.
“Network International is uniquely placed to take advantage of the tremendous potential offered by this industry as we continue to grow in terms of expertise and offering. Indeed, the future looks bright for us,” concluded Trivedi.
Bhairav Trivedi’s keynote address underscored an exceptional year at Network International as the company successfully acquired Emerging Markets Payments Holdings (EMPH), its first acquisition since private equity firms, Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic’s strategic growth investment in Network International in December 2015. Combined with EMPH’s extensive footprint in the MEA region, Network International now boasts presence across 71 countries, servicing over 200 banks as clients and more than 70,000 merchants, with a combined revenue five times larger than its closest competitor.
Attendees of Network International’s 9th User Conference gained insight into the evolving payment landscape from several eminent speakers, including Osama Bedier, Founder and CEO of Poynt; Dr Soner Canko, CEO of BKM (Interbank Card Center); Frank Martire, Executive Chairman of FIS; and Dominic Frisby, renowned financial journalist and bitcoin expert.
Participants debated the future of payments at a lively panel discussion moderated by Dr Riel Miller, Foresight Team Leader at UNESCO who urged practitioners to stay ahead of changing trends. A special highlight of the three- day event was guest speaker Christopher Gardner, the inspiration behind the film ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ who regaled attendees with lessons learnt during his journey from homelessness to becoming a successful investment banker, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Diners Club International was the platinum sponsor of this year’s User Conference. FEXCO, Oberthur Technologies and Planet Payment were the gold sponsors, while Marshal was the silver sponsor.