< Back to Articles

Episode 2: The Current & Future state of FinTech during COVID-19

25 February 2021
Episode 2: The Current & Future state of FinTech during COVID-19

In its second episode, FinTech Egypt Dialogue tackled the impact of COVID-19 and its influence on economies, people, and FinTech as an industry, with the presence of three distinct guests that brought thought diversity to the conversation; Dr. Rasha Negm, Head of FinTech & innovation at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), Ramy Taha, Head of Digital Banking and Marketing at Alex Bank, and Stephen Deng, Co-founder and Partner at DFS Lab, a FinTech and digital commerce investor and advisory firm that’s primarily focused on Africa and early-stage startups.

Podcast host Hossam Mahmoud, advisor at GIZ Egypt, greeted the 3 guests as they gave a brief introduction about themselves. Dr. Rasha Negm kicked off the session as she was asked about the ripple effect of the FinTech landscape happening today since the launch of the CBE’s FinTech arm, and what her ambitions and expectations are for the future of FinTech in Egypt. Dr. Rasha explained that the FinTech Ecosystem witnessed great progress since the CBE launched the national strategy for FinTech innovation in Q1 2019, a pre-pandemic time when just 17 FinTech startups were in the visible scope, as opposed to today reaching more than 50 FinTech startups as per the figures reported by GIZ Egypt in 2020, bringing a diverse collective offering as these young companies cover many FinTech areas that are in need of attention in 2021. She also stated that the focus was previously on mostly digital payments, however now these rising startups are venturing into lending, market places, RegTech, and more areas that contribute to the success of the very promising FinTech ecosystem in Egypt. On the investment side, she said that FinTech is reported to be in the top 3 industries in terms of investment opportunities and startup funding efforts today in Egypt, as the country is also reported to be one of the fastest growing FinTech ecosystems in the MENA region, with a few others having a nationwide FinTech innovation strategy that acts as a cornerstone of the ongoing digital transformation happening across the country. Moreover, she said that Egypt is currently in the top 5 interesting African FinTech ecosystems to watch listed among the world’s top “Ecosystems to watch” in 2020, which makes for a very optimistic future for the Egyptian digital economy.

Hossam then moved on to ask Ramy Taha about what “digital” means to him in general and how its popularity has altered the strategies and priorities of Alex Bank as a prominent financial institution in the digital field. Ramy started off by saying that for them, it’s all about providing a comprehensive ecosystem that is based on customer data and the deep analytics that provide valuable insights into their clients’ post-pandemic behavior and digital preferences, and this is achieved by having a perfect blend between how they optimize their existing customer data and how they develop and deliver their digital platforms to make the best use of their existing data. He mentioned that at the beginning of 2020 when the Coronavirus was just starting to make an impact on the real world, people referred to digital in terms of just mobile banking solutions, but for digital professionals such as himself, it means so much more than that, in terms of analyzing data and significant investments in digital infrastructure. He said that organizations that have not defined their digital strategy or invested in their digital infrastructure as of yet, are at risk of becoming obsolete in terms of their offering and market reach at this point, emphasizing the need for digital awareness to stay afloat in these highly digitized times. Ultimately, Ramy said, it’s about how Alex Bank enhances and optimizes the customer experience, and FinTech startups will have a critical role in supporting digital banking initiatives, which is why the best thing established financial institutions like Alex Bank can do for emerging FinTech companies is to provide them with mentorship and advisory services for the benefit of all parties involved.

Hossam went on to address Stephen Deng and inquired about his keen interest in Egypt and what has attracted him to it today as opposed to other countries in Africa, a place in which he has worked in for a long time. Stephen Deng was joining in from California and was passionate to share his view of the country’s rising potential and promising outlook. He said that COVID-19 contributed greatly to the adoption of digital products due to its radical implications and universal shift in trends across the continent. He mentioned that he’s excited to work with CBE and Egyptian entrepreneurs to elevate the FinTech ecosystem to new heights, and that Egypt’s tremendous growth in terms of venture capital and the number of startups, especially replacing South Africa’s 3rd spot in the continent, is a clear indicator of what’s to come and what to expect.

He also said that the diversification of the current FinTech arena in Egypt is also placing the nation in a competitive position with other international markets and global FinTech ecosystems. He mentioned that, although COVID-19 has greatly accelerated the rate of digital adoption, Egypt already had a jumpstart on other fellow countries in Africa pre-pandemic in terms of the amount and quality of digital offerings, further emphasizing the fact that the nation is rapidly and successfully achieving its ongoing digital transformation.

Going back to Dr. Rasha, she elaborated on how she sees FinTech startups can help banks to grow and scale into the digital sphere, saying that collaboration is key between these new and traditional entities to produce viable solutions that address specific problem statements that need to be solved in the Egyptian market, such as only having 33% financial inclusion across the nation, for instance. She stated that the nation’s aim is to eventually become a less cash society, enabled by FinTechs and further propelled by the “new norm” and highly digitized behavior imposed by COVID-19 that consumers are experiencing, making digital no longer an option in these times.

“This can only happen when everyone is going to collaborate; the banks and incumbents collaborating with FinTech solutions that have ready-made, easier, quicker, cheaper, frictionless solutions that can actually help us go through the new changes and the new norms of the consumer behavior.”

She said that this not only pertains to the financial institutions and banks on the private level, but also extends to regulators; CBE (Central Bank of Egypt) and the FRA (Financial Regulatory Authority) where the regulators collaborate with each other to find comprehensive solutions that satisfy all parties. Dr. Negm emphasized that the new law issued by the CBE that focuses on FinTech adoption and provides a regulatory framework is for them to endorse more FinTech companies and digital finance solutions across the market, and this makes for fertile ground to address the issues raised by the ongoing COVVID-19 pandemic and cater to the digital consumer.

Hossam went on to ask Stephen about the COVID-19 Innovation Sprint program and what it aims to achieve. Stephen stated that the Sprint program – hosted by the Central Bank of Egypt in collaboration with Financial Regulatory Authority, and organized by DFS Lab and FSD Africa – is a matchmaking initative between banks and startups with a 3-day sprint in which startups can apply for, and their selection will allow them to work on prototype solutions that address actual problem statements found in Egypt. Banks and non-bank FIs were invited to join as collaborators in the process to keep a high level of engagement from these Egyptian financial entities with the aim of putting their difference with startups aside for the duration of that program, and actually come together to tackle the real problems that Egyptian consumers are facing today, in hopes of coming with collaborative solutions to solve these issues. Stephen also mentioned that there will be a demo day at the end of the program, where candidates can showcase their prototype to many banks and other participants. He said that the COVID-19 Innovation Sprint is a callout to all local, regional and global startups as he considers it to be a great opportunity for FinTech startups to gain exposure, meet and work with collaborators, helping themselves define their own future and work towards a more inclusive process to grant the best possible outcomes for them, while benefitting from experienced collaborators to bring the best solutions to the rising digital finance ecosystem.

The COVID-19 Innovation Sprint’s main objective is to unearth, develop, and refine existing FinTech solutions that directly address the COVID-19 pandemic-related problem statements in the banking and the financial sectors.

Watch the full session of FinTech Egypt Dialogue’s second episode here: https://fintech-egypt.com/webinar/ 

related articles

4 April 2024

The Central Bank of Egypt Supports Women’s Empowerment to Expand their Businesses

30 MAY 2023

Agri-FinTech Applications by Fresh Source

30 April 2023

4th Episode of 7areef FinTech Podcast – Supply Chain Finance

2 April 2023

3rd Episode of 7areef FinTech Podcast – Digital Payments

9 March 2023

2nd Episode of 7areef FinTech Podcast – ROSCA

14 Feb 2023

1st Episode of 7areef FinTech Podcast - FinTekrs Introduction

13 Feb 2023

Are you interested to be “7areef FinTech”?!

12 Jan 2023

“FinTech Egypt” Launches the First Digital Academy to Upskill the Workforce Skills in the Banking, Financial, and FinTech Sector

18 Dec 2022


18 Dec 2022

The Future is FinTech..JOIN FINTEKRS NOW!

18 Dec 2022

FinTekrs’ Alex Round Sponsor

18 Dec 2022

FinTech Worldwide Statistics...FINTEKRS is Not-To-Miss!

6 Dec 2022

Who Can Apply to FINTEKRS

6 Dec 2022

Knowledge from FINTEKRS!

6 Dec 2022

4 Reasons to Join FINTEKRS!

6 Dec 2022

Launching FINTEKRS

19 June 2022

FinTech Egypt releases its FinTech Investments-focused H1 2022 Landscape Review “Why Egypt is a promising market for FinTech Investments?”

26 June 2022

The Women Techsters Initiative Fellowship Class of 2023

10 June 2022

We're bringing top LPs and GPs from around the world

10 June 2022

The Egyptian FinTech ecosystem is booming

10 June 2022

We've joined forces to bring the best LPs and GPs together

9 June 2022

We're taking a closer look at Egypt

9 June 2022

Come and join the key players in the Middle East & Africa’s VC market

8 June 2022

Connect with Egypt

8 June 2022

Frontier of Egypt, Africa & the middle East in the 2022

8 June 2022

Egypt’s First VC Summit kicks off in partnership between GIZ Egypt, AfricaGrow and Fintech Egypt

21 March 2022


21 March 2022

The Increasing Influence of Women in FinTech

23 January 2022

FinTech Egypt is releasing the first comprehensive report of its kind providing an overview of the unprecedented growth of FinTech in the Egyptian market

4 January 2022

5 FinTech Trends to Follow in 2022

13 December 2021

How FinTech is Disrupting an Age-Old Industry

13 December 2021


6 September 2021

Accelerate’ha’ Female-Focused Problem Statements Now Live!

6 September 2021

Breaking Entry Barriers for Women in FinTech

6 September 2021

Have Traditional Banks Realized the Full Potential of Fintech By Now?

9 June 2021

Episode 5: Accelerating FinTech Innovation through Open APIs

21 April 2021

Episode 4: Understanding Blockchain’ s Potential in Disrupting FinTech

22 March 2021

Episode 3: Discovering FinTech Talent through “FinYology - FinTech for Youth”

25 February 2020

FinTech Egypt Dialogue podcast launches its first-ever session about E-KYC Regulations and Regulatory Sandbox

6 April 2020

Where does Artificial Intelligence fit in FinTech?

10 March 2020

Critical FinTech Questions That Only the Near Future Can Answer

2 Sept 2019

Special Interview With Dor-E, Winner Of The AI-Customer Experience FinTech Innovation Challenge

2 Sept 2019

Egyptian Banking Institute Announces “The Future Of FinTech And Latest Digitalization Trends” Field Trip

1 Sept 2019

Artificial Intelligence Is Transforming Banking As We Know It

1 Sept 2019

Artificial Intelligence Is Transforming Banking As We Know It

30 July 2019

Hub71 Partners With Techstars In Launching An Accelerator Program To Boost Startups

22 July 2019

FINTECH IN THE SAVANNAH: Afro-Asia FinTech festival 2019 that took place in Nairobi Kenya

22 July 2019

How Machine Learning Supports Credit Profiling

10 July 2019

The Central Bank of Egypt’s Regulatory Sandbox started its first cohort in “e-KYC” to empower the FinTech ecosystem in Egypt.

9 July 2019

Dubai Smart City Accelerator invites Egyptian startups to join Cairo Fast Track

3 July 2019

Calling All Egyptian FinTech Startups To Participate In The Afro-Asia FinTech Festival!

25 June 2019

Paynas Wins Big At Seamless North Africa 2019

11 June 2019

Seamless North Africa 2019

11 June 2019

Announcing The Inaugural AFI FinTech Showcase

11 June 2019

Fintech Trends In 2019 - Blockchain Adoption

11 June 2019

Discounted Start-Up Passes

FinTech Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest fintech news and events.