The Middle East and Africa are the last parts of the world to undergo a large-scale shift from cash to digital payments, according to Simon Mark Haslam, the CEO of UAE-based payment solutions provider Network International.
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Even in Dubai, Haslam said that about 50 percent of transactions are still in cash.
“We have a large population. We have sustained economic development, and of the population a lot of them are relatively young,” he said.
“If you combine that with rising disposable income and improving economies, that means the region is ripe for transition. It has the perfect conditions.”
Haslam said that the conditions are similar to those previously experienced in Eastern Europe, Latin America and China, which has seen non-cash payments rise from about 10 percent a decade ago to 40 percent.
“It’s where you’ve had those conditions, sizeable and young populations and improving economies, that you’ve seen that shift from cash to digital payments,” he added. “This is the last region in the world that has yet to undergo that shift.”
Network International processed approximately 680 million transactions across the Middle East and North Africa in 2018 and just under $40 billion in volume.
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